Features September 2009 Issue

Statins Play a Strong Role in Primary Prevention

Statin drugs may protect many who have risk factors but no diagnosed heart disease.

The benefits of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to patients with heart disease are well-documented, and there is ample evidence that statins are effective when used as preventive therapy for people who have risk factors but no diagnosed cardiovascular disease (CVD). An analysis of results from 10 statin studies published in the June 30 online edition of the British Medical Journal concluded that statins used for primary prevention in patients with risk factors but no established CVD improved survival and reduced the occurrence of heart attack and stroke. "This article provides a reaffirmation of previous findings on the benefits of statins for people who do not have diagnosed heart disease," says Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, the section head of preventive cardiology & cardiac rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic. "The bottom line is that statins save lives. The data is so compelling—no other drug has been shown to have such powerful preventive effects as statin drugs, except for vaccines."

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