HealthWatch: Expanding Statin Use

Heart Awareness Month: Cath LabDURHAM, N. Ca. — Half of Americans between the ages of 40 and 75 should be on statins, which treat high cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease.

That expanded number was calculated by Duke Researchers and published online this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It means about 12.8 million more u.s. adults should be taking the drugs, according to the research team.

The findings finally quantify the impact of the American Heart Association’s new guidelines, which were issued in November.

But researchers say the additional statin users under the new guidelines would be people older than age 60.

Lead author Michael J. Pencina, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics at DCRI says, “by our estimate, there might be an uptake in usage as a result of the guidelines, from 43.2 million people to 56 million, which is nearly half of the u.s. population between the ages of 40 and 75.”

You can read the entire research report here.