Statin use in primary prevention not supported by evidence

More research is needed into the effectiveness of statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, a Cochrane review has found.

The review combines the results of 14 randomised controlled trials on the effect of statins for primary prevention of CVD. The paper called for ‘caution,’ stating that the research ‘highlights the shortcomings in the published trials of statins for primary prevention.’

'On the basis of our systematic review and these recent meta-analyses, it is clear that any decision to use statins for primary prevention should be made cautiously,' the researchers said.

Dr Terry McCormack, a GP in Whitby, North Yorkshire commented: 'What the review says is that there is no evidence that statins work in people at low risk of CAD.' But, he added: 'There is no evidence that they don’t work either.'

Dr McCormack said he would not be changing his practice around stain prescribing. But he said government-funded trials assessing the effectiveness of statins needed to be undertaken.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey commented. ‘The research will add to the debate, but it is just one paper and must be taken in context. More research is needed.’

He added: 'If patients visit their GPs wanting to stop their statins the GP will deal with every patient on an individual basis, you cannot generalise.'


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