The findings, presented this week at the annual American Heart Association conference in Orlando, Florida are the first to suggest healthy women can benefit from statin treatment.
The majority of previous statin studies have tended to focus on men only.
For this latest study, the researchers carried out a sex-specific analysis of outcomes from the JUPITER trial.
A total of 6,801 women, aged 60 and over, and 11,001 men were randomised to receive either rosuvastatin (20mg daily) or placebo and followed up for cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or stroke.
Overall, the researchers found that the relative risk reduction of cardiovascular events with rosuvastatin was similar and statistically significant in both women and men.
Taking statins reduced the risk of cardiovascular events among healthy women by 46% compared with placebo.
The research team, led by Dr Paul Ridker from the Harvard School of Medicine in Boston, also found that use of rosuvastatin was not associated with any significant increase in myopathy or cancer. However, a higher incidence of diabetes was noted among the women who were receiving statins.
Jill Ridley, a cardiac specialist nurse for Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale PCT, warned that nurses should not offer statins to patients in isolation but should offer them in line with healthy lifestyle advice.
‘At the moment statin use tends to be been aimed at elderly men so these findings could help to increase the focus of statin treatment in women.
‘There have been only a few small studies looking at statin use in women. These latest findings warrant further research,' she said.
- Read the full version of this story in next week's Independent Nurse dated 23 November