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expert reaction to updated draft NICE guidance recommending that new evidence on the safety of statins means they could be prescribed to a wider group of people

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published draft guidance recommending that statins could be a choice for more people to reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes.


Prof Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director, British Heart Foundation, said:

“Heart attacks and strokes still kill more people prematurely than anything else, with high levels of cholesterol being a major risk factor. The recommendation today by NICE that statins, which lower cholesterol, should be considered for patients with a 5-10 per cent 10-year risk of these life-threatening conditions is good news as it will help to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes.

“Research has shown that statins are largely safe. However, the decision to start this medication, which needs to be taken on a on a long-term basis, is very much a personal choice. The decision should be based on a conversation with your GP, and should be combined with other measures such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly to get the most benefit.”


Prof Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine, University of Glasgow, said:

“I agree statins are well proven to lower cardiovascular outcomes cost effectively at thresholds less than 10% so this new guidance makes sense.  However, we need also to concentrate more on helping people live healthier lives and not just longer with more diseases. Hence, parallel work to help people improve their lifestyles, walking more, eating better, is needed to maximise health gains.  More people on statins alone will not be enough to meaningfully improve the health of the nation.”



Draft NICE Guideline: ‘Statins could be a choice for more people to reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes’ was published 12:00pm UK TIME on Thursday 12 January 2023.



Declared interests

Prof Naveed Sattar: “I contribute to the CTT, and have consulted for companies that make statins or PCSK9i.”

For all other experts, no reply to our request for DOIs was received.


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