Don't Stop Taking Your Statins

Published Online: Monday, April 1, 2002
Patients with acute coronary syndromes?severe and sudden heart conditions that require aggressive treatment but have not developed into a full-blown heart attack?should not stop taking their cholesterol-lowering drugs after being hospitalized for chest pain. That?s the conclusion of a report published in the March 26 issue of Circulation. The report focuses on more than 1,600 patients. At the time of hospitalization, 455 individuals had been on statins for at least 6 months. On their physicians? advice, 86 of these patients stopped taking the drugs when they were hospitalized. These patients were shown to have nearly triple the risk of having a heart attack or dying within 30 days of being hospitalized compared with those who continued taking such drugs. According to Dr. Christian W. Hamm of the Kerckhoff Heart Center in Bad Nauheim, Germany, one of the authors of the study, ?Withdrawal of statin therapy in unstable patients should be avoided.?

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