Statins should be taken for LIFE, study suggests

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Statins should be given out for life, a study suggests.

Patients who suddenly stop taking cholesterol-lowering drugs are at risk of losing most of the protection they give to the heart.

This is because the main benefits of the cheap pills are not seen until later in life, scientists say.

About 8 million Britons and 32 million Americans take statins every day to reduce their risk of heart complications due to high blood pressure.

But it’s thought that up to half of patients stop taking the drug because of suspected side effects, including muscle aches, digestive problems and headaches.

dr. Runguo Wu, lead author of Queen Mary University of London, said: ‘Discontinuing treatment unless advised by a doctor does not seem to be a wise choice.’

About 8 million Britons and 32 Americans take the cholesterol-lowering pills every day to reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes. But it’s thought that up to half of patients stop taking the drug because of suspected side effects, including muscle aches, digestive problems and headaches. Now, researchers have found that throwing the drugs away may reduce the lifelong protection they provide against cardiovascular problems, as the drugs provide the most benefit later in life.

WHAT ARE STATINS?

Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower ‘bad cholesterol’ levels in the blood.

Too much of this type of cholesterol — called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — can lead to thickening of the arteries and heart disease.

Statins work by stopping the liver from producing as much LDL.

Previous studies have shown that the drug will prevent one heart attack or stroke for every 50 people who take it over five years.

The drug comes as a tablet that is taken once a day.

Most people have to take them for life because if they stop, their cholesterol will rise back to high levels within a few weeks.

Some people experience side effects from the medication, including diarrhea, headache, or nausea.

People are usually told to make lifestyle changes in an effort to lower their cholesterol — such as improving eating and exercise habits, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking — before prescribing statins.

Statins are a group of drugs that stop the liver from producing “bad” cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Over time, its buildup can lead to hardened and narrowed arteries and heart disease – one of the world’s leading causes of death.

People are currently prescribed statins if they are diagnosed with the disease or have a family history of it.

Costing just 20 cents per pill and proven to be life-saving, the tablets are taken once a day.

Patients who stop taking it may see their cholesterol rise again within weeks.

However, many people stop taking them or use them irregularly due to concerns about side effects.

The researchers examined how their effectiveness decreased when patients came off the drugs.

They used data on 118,000 participants included in international statin trials and half a million in the UK Biobank – a database of medical and genetic data.

They created a mathematical model that calculated the annual risk of heart attack and stroke for each participant.

Experts tried to calculate what would happen if participants stopped taking a daily dose at 80, compared to those they would take for life.

At the same time, they compared delaying statin use by five years.

Benefits were measured in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) – the extra years of life lived in perfect health.

The findings, to be presented Saturday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, ​​show that most QALYs due to statins have developed later in life.

Patients who stopped taking the drug when they reached 80 “knew much of the potential benefit.”

People in their fifties with low cardiovascular risk who stop taking the drug by age 80 lose three-quarters of the QALYs they would have had if they had continued to take the drug.

And those at high cardiovascular risk and stopping their daily statin tablet at 80 lose a third of their extra healthy years provided by the drug.

Those who had low cardiovascular risk and delayed taking statins for five years lost only two percent of the drug’s benefits.

But those at high risk who delayed starting lost seven percent of the benefit.

dr. Wu said, “This is because people at higher cardiovascular risk start to gain benefit early on and have more to lose by delaying statin therapy than people at low risk.”

He urged people in their 40s at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and people of all ages with pre-existing heart disease to take statins immediately.

Many doctors say the possible side effects of statins are exaggerated and supporters, including health watchdog NICE, say the pills should be prescribed more widely to prevent thousands of premature deaths.

However, others are concerned about the potential long-term damage.

The drugs have been linked to diabetes and memory loss.

And scores are uncomfortable with what they describe as the “overmedicalization” of middle age, where statins are distributed “just in case” patients develop heart problems later in life.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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