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Comment & Response
December 26, 2019

Questioning the Benefit of Statins for Low-risk Populations—Medical Misinformation or Scientific Evidence?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Clinical Excellence Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 3University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco
JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(2):233. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.5117

To the Editor In our opinion, the Viewpoint by Navar1 deserves comment. We are especially concerned about the analogy of antivaxxers with those who raise concerns about widespread use of statins. We believe that scientific discourse should focus on the evidence.

We agree that statins are effective for secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. But data from the 2012 Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) meta-analysis2 showed that 189 people with a 10-year cardiovascular risk less than 20% must be treated with a statin for 4.8 years (median duration of studies) to prevent a single cardiovascular event, and 69 trial participants with a 10-year risk between 10% and 20% must be treated with a statin for 4.8 years to prevent a single cardiovascular event. Furthermore, for people with a 10-year cardiovascular disease risk less than 20%, statin therapy does not provide a significant reduction in all-cause mortality.3 To our knowledge, the CTT data2 are the most extensive available.

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