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Medical News and Perspectives
November 5, 2003

Expanding Statin Use to Help More At-Risk Patients Is Causing Financial Heartburn

JAMA. 2003;290(17):2243-2245. doi:10.1001/jama.290.17.2243

Vienna, Austria—Last year, findings from the Heart Protection Study, a 20 500-patient clinical trial in the United Kingdom, showed that adding a statin (simvastatin) to existing treatment regimens for high-risk patients substantially reduced the rates of heart attack and stroke, even among those with cholesterol levels considered to be normal or low (Lancet. 2002;360:7-22). The researchers estimated that implementing the study's major finding—that statins should be prescribed for patients based on risk, not just cholesterol level—would more than triple the number of individuals benefiting from the drugs. Principal investigator Rory Collins, MD, reportedly predicted that statins would eventually become "the new aspirin."

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