A new Canadian-led review on statin drug concluded that the drug has the potential to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with no history of cardiovascular diseases. But the reduce in the risk of death cannot be assured by this cholesterol-lowering drug.
Statins, the best selling and widely used among the family of drugs, help the patients in lowering levels of artery-clogging 'bad' cholesterol, called LDL or low-density lipoprotein.
Dr. Paaladinesh Thevendiranathan of University of Toronto did the analysis along with his colleagues and the results were published in the Monday's issue of Archieves of Internal Medicine. They concluded that statins help lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people who are at risk from heart disease or high cholesterol otherwise the benefits are limited when healthy adults are considered.
An analysis of seven previous trials that involved nearly 43,000 adults aged 55 to 75 found that the average adult had a nearly 6 percent chance of suffering a heart attack over a 4 1/3-year period, compared with a 4 percent risk among those who took statins. 'Therefore, 60 patients would need to be treated for an average of 4.3 years to prevent one major coronary event,' the research team wrote in the article. Moreover 268 people would need to take statin treatment for preventing one stroke and 61 would have to take the drugs for preventing one nonfatal heart attack - the research team added.
Even though universal lipid-lowering therapy appears attractive, further studies are needed to clarify the cost-effectiveness of therapy in this (healthy) group. Drug-free ways such as improving your diet and exercising may be considered as an alternative ways, which also helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels.