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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
February 24, 2015

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Taken by 28% of US Population

JAMA. 2015;313(8):787. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.387

Cholesterol-lowering medication use is steadily increasing, with 27.9% of adults 40 years or older reporting that they took a prescription drug to reduce their cholesterol during 2011 to 2012. In comparison, 19.9% of adults in the United States used a cholesterol-lowering medication in 2003 to 2004.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that 83% of adults using a cholesterol-lowering medication took only a statin, while 10% took both a statin and a nonstatin, and 7% used only a nonstatin (Gu Q et al. NCHS Data Brief. 2014;[177]:1-7). The percentage of adults who used only a statin to lower cholesterol increased from 16.3% in 2003 to 2004 to 23.2% in 2011 to 2012. Simvastatin was most commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, taken by 42% of survey participants, followed by atorvastatin (20.2%), pravastatin (11.2%), rosuvastatin (8.2%), and lovastatin (7.4%).