Findings from a new study have prompted its authors to suggest that statins are being overprescribed for cardioprevention. While guidelines often recommend statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) if 10-year risk exceeds 7.5 to 10 per cent, the authors suggest the number of people who are given the recommendation to take statins could be significantly reduced.
Researchers in Switzerland performed a quantitative benefit-harm balance modeling study on the use of statins for primary prevention of CVD in individuals aged 40 to 75 years, without a history of CVD events.
They found statins are likely to provide net benefits at higher risk thresholds than those which most guidelines refer. Younger men had net benefit at a lower 10-year risk for CVD than older men (14% for ages 40 to 44 years vs. 21% for ages 70 to 75 years). In women, the risk required for net benefit was higher (17% for ages 40 to 44 years vs. 22% for ages 70 to 75 years).
Of the four examined statin preparations, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin had a significantly better balance of benefits and harms than simvastatin and pravastatin.
The findings are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.