Physicians believe that current thresholds for prescribing statins may be too low. We have regularly highlighted the unconvincing evidence for statins (read here, here, here, and here for starters). Read here from Sam Blanchard at the Daily Mail about new research that suggests statins are over-prescribed:
The risks of taking cholesterol-busting statins outweigh the benefits for millions of patients, according to a study.
Researchers designed a computer model to compare the likelihood of side effects with that of dying among people taking the cheap daily pills.
Whether patients are eligible for statins, proven to save thousands of lives, depends on their risk of heart attack or stroke.
But the Swiss study found the possible harms of the drug outweigh the benefits until someone’s risk is ‘considerably higher’ than the current threshold.
Guidelines in the UK and US both recommend prescribing a patient statins if they have a 10 per cent risk of heart disease within the next 10 years.
Physicians use a tool called QRISK to estimate each patient’s individual risk of heart disease – the world’s leading killer.
The calculator jots up several risk factors to reveal a score – a 10-year risk of heart disease – including your age, BMI, where you live and other medical conditions.
If you have a risk of 10 per cent or higher you are likely eligible for statins in most healthcare systems, but experts believe this may be too low.