Some recent press stories about statins

The following articles have been taken from various websites – if you would like to find out more, visit the website address quoted


Cholesterol medication linked to dementia

AAP, The West Australian March 1, 2012, 7:18 am

People who take cholesterol-lowering drugs may soon be advised to go without them as more evidence shows they are linked to higher risks of diabetes and dementia.

More than two million Australians are believed to be using statins to reduce their risk of heart disease.

But US regulators have announced these prescription drugs should carry warnings about the risk of diabetes and memory impairment.

The president of the Australasian Society for Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists, David Le Couteur, said Australia had one of the highest rates of statin use in the world.

People who were not at high risk of heart disease should reconsider using them, he said.

Warning on statins for the healthy

The West Australian January 20, 2011, 6:11 am

Questions hang over the widespread use of the cholesterol- lowering drugs statins after a study warned they could cause more harm than good in people at low risk of heart disease.

About 22 million prescriptions for statins are dispensed in Australia each year at a cost to taxpayers of $1.2 billion. But the new study cautions against them for people with no previous heart concerns.

The Cochrane Systematic Review found there was not enough evidence to recommend the widespread use of statins in people who had high cholesterol but were at low risk of heart attack and stroke.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins are the first-line treatment for cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death.

But while their benefits for people with known heart disease are clear, it is less so for others.

The London-based researchers reviewed 14 trials of more than 34,000 patients to compare statins against dummy pills.

The trials showed statins reduced the risk of dying from nine to eight deaths for every 1000 people treated with the drugs each year.

But the new research says the results were not necessarily helpful for people at low risk because the trials were often industry sponsored, so the results could be selective and biased and some did not report adverse events.

Lead researcher Fiona Taylor, from the Cochrane Heart Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, warned doctors to weigh up individual risks and benefits before prescribing statins.

But heart experts said the drugs were still important for many patients and warned people with high cholesterol against going off statins without seeing their doctor.

Current guidelines from the National Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand advise using the drugs based on the patient’s risk of heart or blood vessel problems.

Though lifestyle changes were beneficial for all patients, statins were recommended for those with clinical evidence of heart and blood vessel disease or stroke.