Study links cheap statin use with poor outcomes

Practices using a high proportion of cheap statins tend to have poorer clinical outcomes, a study of practices in Somerset suggests.

Research shows that low-cost statins have lower achievement (Photograph: SPL)

The research, published in the British Journal of General Practice, examined the level of low-cost statin prescribing and achievement on QOF indicators of cholesterol (CHD8) and stroke (Stroke8).

The study, conducted by Somerset GP Dr James Hickman, found a correlation between a higher proportion of low-cost statin prescribing and lower achievement. Dr Hickman believes that this raises questions about the value of using low-cost statins.

‘The results raise the concern that the pressure to prescribe low-cost statins may contribute to poorer control of cholesterol at the practice population level,' he said.

Dr Hickman also suggests that practices achieving good outcomes with high use of low-cost statins may be making use of additional therapies such as ezetimibe. Although in line with NICE guidance, this may counteract savings, he pointed out.

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