Statins are Underprescribed in the US

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Although statins may be the most prescribed medicines in theworld, researchers suggest that more patients with risks fordeveloping heart disease should be taking the cholesterol-loweringdrugs. Heart disease is the number-1 killer in the UnitedStates and is often caused by high cholesterol. A study at StanfordUniversity in California looked into 2 national databases thatincluded outpatient visits to hospitals and doctor's officesbetween 1992 and 2002, taking note of the types of drugs eithercontinued or prescribed. The study showed that statin use grewfrom 47% to 87% during that time. It also showed that, amonghigh-risk patients, use rose from 14% to 50%; for those at moderaterisk, use of statins went up from 9% to 44%. While thesenumbers appear to be promising, researchers pointed out that"the predominant problem appears to be underuse in higher-riskpatients," while stating that "we did observe some inappropriateuse of statins in low-risk patients." They emphasized that statins"have to be prescribed for the right reasons and for the rightgroups of patients."