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expert reaction to study looking at statins dose/adherence and cardiovascular deaths

Research published in JAMA Network Open demonstrates that lowest cardiovascular risk was seen among patients with high intensity statin treatment and good adherence.


Prof Liam Smeeth, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and GP, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said:

“This is a well done study showing that the greatest benefits from statins are obtained by people who take their statins on most days or everyday, and among people on higher doses of statins. These results are entirely in agreement with the evidence from previous clinical trials, showing that statins prevents heart attacks and deaths due to cardiovascular disease. The study highlights the importance of people taking their statins reliably over the long term, and the benefits of using the higher doses of statins that are now widely recommended in clinical guidelines.”


Prof Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundations, said:

“This is real-world evidence that taking your medicine as prescribed really can make all the difference.  If you’re taking statins, it’s essential that you continue to take them regularly, as advised by your doctor.  This is even more important if you’re at high risk, which includes people who’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, or those who have inherited high cholesterol levels.

“This isn’t the first study to show how important adherence is, but it’s a timely reminder given the misinformation about statins that may stop some people from taking them as prescribed.”


‘Association of a combined measure of adherence and treatment intensity with cardiovascular outcomes in patients with atherosclerosis or other cardiovascular risk factors treated with statins and/or ezetimibe’ by Kamlesh Khunti et al. was published in JAMA Network Open at 16:00 UK time on Friday 7 December 2018.


Declared interests

Prof Liam Smeeth: “Professor Smeeth reports grants from Wellcome, grants from MRC, grants from NIHR, grants from GSK, grants from BHF, grants from Diabetes UK, none of which are directly relevant to this paper.  He is the principal investigator of the Statinwise trial, funded by NIHR, to investigate adverse effects of statins.  He is a Trustee of the British Heart Foundation.”

None others received.

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