Statins reduce cardiovascular risk in patients who experience adverse reactions

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that continuing statin treatment beyond the first two years can be beneficial.

Woman opening statin blister pack

Many people discontinue taking statins within the first two years of therapy due to adverse reactions. But there is little data to weigh the costs and benefits of continuing statin treatment for such patients.

In a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (online, 25 July 2017), researchers analysed data on 19,989 people, aged 18 years and older, who continued statin treatment and 8,277 who stopped treatment following an adverse reaction, presumed to be caused by a statin[1]

After four years follow-up, those who continued treatment were significantly less likely to have experienced a cardiovascular event or death, at 12.2%, compared with 13.9% of those who stopped treatment. In addition, 5.4% of patients with treatment died compared with 6.6% of those without treatment.

The researchers said the findings indicate that the benefit of statin treatment in these patients is comparable to that seen in clinical trials. However, the costs and benefits must be weighed on an individual basis.


[1] Zhang H, Plutzky J, Shubina M et al. Continued statin prescriptions after adverse reactions and patient outcomes. Ann Intern Med 2017. doi: 10.7326/M16-0838

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, October 2017, Vol 9, No 10;():DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203593

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