A recent article published in The Lancet argued that all adults over 50 should take statins because it reduces the risks of heart attacks in healthy people without causing side effects. The Scientific American conducted a specific research to determine whether the finding is true or not.
People with cardiovascular diseases have had the opportunity of experiencing the positive benefits of statins on their own. These drugs work miracles when it comes to lowering the cholesterol level and preventing heart attacks or cardiovascular accidents. However, the medical world is divided in two when it comes to administering this medicine to healthy people. Some think the medicine should be universally administered because there are no side effects; others, on the other hand, claim that healthy people get very small benefits from statins, so there is no point in taking them if they don’t really need them.
Numerous tests have been performed since 2008 to determine whether statins are good for everybody or only for patients with cardiovascular problems. The first research showed that heart attack risks are lowered by 44 percent in healthy people thanks to rosuvastatin (Crestor). Scientists criticized the 2008 trial because they said the pills have been administered for a very short period of time. They performed the test again and discovered that people are 21 percent less likely to develop heart attacks or strokes if they take statins for a year. The clinical benefit was, however, much smaller, that is, 0.77 percent risk reduction.
Side effects remain some of the most important issue of the debate. According to the researchers who have taken part in the meta-analysis, there have been rare cases of hemorrhagic strokes, muscle pains, as well as muscle and liver complications. Despite this, pro doctors think that these complications are very rare and they should not prevent healthy people from using statins.
The rest of the experts have compared the positive outcome with the side effects and reached the conclusion that it is not worth taking statins for a 0.77 percent risk reduction. They further stated that the side effects could be a lot worse because drug companies tend to modify the results of their researches to prove that their pills are good.