The findings, presented last week at the annual American Heart Association conference in Orlando, Florida, are the first to suggest healthy women can benefit from statin treatment.
Earlier studies have tended to focus on men. For this study, 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.
The researchers found relative risk reduction was similar in both women and men. Statins cut the risk of cardiovascular events in healthy women by 46 per cent compared with placebo.
The research team, led by Dr Paul Ridker of Harvard School of Medicine in Boston, found rosuvastatin use was not associated with significant increase in myopathy or cancer. But there was a higher incidence of diabetes in women taking statins.
West London GP Dr Sarah Jarvis, RCGP spokeswoman for women's health, added: 'These data are extremely exciting because this level of risk reduction among women has never been seen before in a primary prevention statin outcome trial.'
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said women at risk of CHD 'should not be denied statin treatment'.