August 28, 2008

Doubled Mortality Risk If Statins Stopped

Patients who discontinue statin medication after an acute myocardial infarction -- heart attack -- increase their risk of dying, Canadian researchers said.

Researchers at McGill University and the McGill University Health Center in Montreal used data on British patients who survived a heart attack and found those who discontinued their statin medication were 88 percent more likely to die during the following year, compared with those who had never been on the medication.

Statins are medications used to lower cholesterol levels in those with or at risk of heart disease.

"Statins were found to be beneficial drugs," Dr. Stella Daskalopoulou of McGill's faculty of medicine and the McGill University Health Center said in a statement. "Patients who used statins before an acute myocardial infarction and continued to take them after were 16 percent less likely to die over the next year than those who never used them. So even if it appears that the statins failed to prevent your acute myocardial infarction, it is beneficial to continue taking them and potentially quite harmful to stop."

The study was published in the European Heart Journal.