Credit: Getty Images

Statins are often prescribed as standard-of-care for preventing adverse cardiovascular events in patients with high cholesterol levels. But the results of a new study question some of the basis for these clinical decisions. 

Previous research has found that using statins to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol helps to prevent adverse events such as heart attack and stroke. But a meta-analysis of 21 randomized clinical trials has found that the relationship between the drug and positive cardiovascular health outcomes may not be as strong as previously thought, investigators said.

“The message has long been that lowering your cholesterol will reduce your risk of heart disease, and that statins help to achieve this. However, our research indicates that, in reality, the benefits of taking statins are varied and can be quite modest,” said Paula Byrne, Ph.D., of RCSI University in Ireland, in a statement.

The researchers encouraged clinicians to carefully counsel patients on the benefits and risks of these drugs, and suggest that the study results be used to inform future guidelines and policy.

Full findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Related Articles