Cholesterol drugs effective years after taking them

Share this content:

Statin drugs, which lower cholesterol, help prevent heart attacks for at least 10 years after people stop taking them, according to a new study.

The research follows up on a study in Scotland showing that men taking the drug Pravachol for five years substantially lowered their risk of heart attack and death from heart disease. They were followed for another 10 years after most stopped taking the drug. There was a 25% lower risk of heart attack or death from heart disease among those in the statin group, when compared with the placebo group.

The new results appeared recently in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers wrote that statin's protective effect was probably because existing plaque was stabilized and the progression of coronary artery disease was slowed.