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expert reaction to study investigating statins, adverse events, and the ‘nocebo effect’

Publishing in The Lancet researchers investigate the potential adverse events of statin therapy. The study is an analysis of 26 types of side effects including erectile dysfunction, muscle-related symptoms, sleep disturbance and cognitive impairment and reports that cases of muscle pain and weakness are unlikely to be directly cause by statins, but may instead be due to the so-called nocebo effect. read more

Statins and side-effects

Muscle-related symptoms linked to statins have been a controversial topic, with some observational studies reporting symptoms in up to a fifth of patients, in contrast to evidence from blinded randomised trials where rates are much lower. read more

interpreting the evidence on the risks and benefits of statins

The public row about statins has had an impact on patient attitudes and the take up of the drugs, but patients, doctors and the wider public are still left confused about the absolute harms and benefits of statins. A major review, published in The Lancet, brings together all evidence to date on statins to clarify what the risks and benefits are in order to help doctors, patients and the wider public make informed decisions about their use. read more

the perception of statins and the impact of intense debate on statin use

In 2014 the UK went through what one commentator described as ‘statin wars’ after NICE recommended that this now cheap off patent drug be offered to people with a lower risk of heart disease. The frenzied debate that ensued was marked by claim and counter claim about ‘ over-medicalisation’ and the dangerous side effects of the drugs. So what impact did this public row have on patient attitudes to statins and to the take up of the drug? Two new studies which asked this question in different ways are published together. read more

expert reaction to study looking at LDL cholesterol levels and heart events in people that have heart disease and are taking statins

An observational study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that, in patients with pre-existing ischemic heart disease, those with ‘moderate’ levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol had lower risk of adverse cardiac outcomes when using statins compared to those with ‘high’ levels of LDL cholesterol, but no additional benefit was seen for those with levels defined as ‘low’. read more

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