In light of misrepresented statistics and overstated fears about statin-related adverse events, here are 3 of the biggest myths your patients may have heard about these life-saving medications-and the facts
Questioning the efficacy of statins has become fashionable, even though they rank among the most effective medications.
In light of misrepresented statistics and overstated fears about statin-related adverse events, here are 3 of the biggest myths your patients may have heard about these life-saving medications—and the facts.
1. Statins cause type 2 diabetes.
Fact: the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with statin therapy is small, resulting in 1 additional case of T2DM for every 255 patients receiving statins for 4 years.1
2. Statins hardly prevent any cardiovascular events. You would have to treat at least 100 patients with statins to prevent 1 heart attack.
3. Unless you can receive a high dose of a statin, it is not worth taking.
Statins have real benefits, and reports to the contrary do real harm to real patients. It is important to debunk these myths with your patients who have heart disease and are at high risk of experiencing cardiovascular events. It is also important to remember that there are options other than statins—the bile acid sequestrants—that also have real cardiovascular benefits.
In short, lipid-lowering therapy is widely available, yet underused. Pharmacists can help educate patients with the strongest available data on the benefits of these life-savings drugs.
1. Sattar N, Preiss D, Murray HM, et al. Statins and risk of incident diabetes: a collaborative meta-analysis of randomised statin trials. Lancet. 2010;375(9716):735-742.
2. Sever PS, Dahlöf B, Poulter NR, et al. Prevention of coronary and stroke events with atorvastatin in hypertensive patients who have average or lower-than-average cholesterol concentrations, in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial--Lipid Lowering Arm (ASCOT-LLA): a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Drugs. 2004;64 Suppl 2:43-60.
3. Canner PL, Berge KG, Wenger NK, et al. Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients: long-term benefit with niacin. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1986;8(6):1245-1255.
4. Lipid Research Clinics Program. The Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial results. I. Reduction in incidence of coronary heart disease. JAMA. 1984;251(3):351-364.
5. Taylor F, Ward K, Moore TH, et al. Statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011.
6. Brugts JJ, Yetgin T, Hoeks SE, et al. The benefits of statins in people without established cardiovascular disease but with cardiovascular risk factors: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2009;338:b2376.
7. Josan K, McAlister FA. Cholesterol lowering for secondary prevention: what statin dose should we use?. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2007;3(5):615-627.
8. Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaboration, Baigent C, Blackwell L, et al. Efficacy and safety of more intensive lowering of LDL cholesterol: a meta-analysis of data from 170,000 participants in 26 randomised trials. Lancet. 2010;376(9753):1670-1681.