March 27, 2009
Expanding Statin Prescriptions Could Save Lives
Thousands of lives could be saved every year if doctors expanded their criteria for which patients should be taking statins, drugs used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, according to a new study.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University said if statins were routinely prescribed to patients with low cholesterol and high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker for inflammation, about 260,000 cardiovascular events over five years could be prevented.
With the expanded criteria, that group could be increased by up to 10 million people, researchers said.
"We're showing that doctors may be able to prevent thousands of heart attacks, strokes and death each year if we expand statin-prescribing criteria to include C-reactive protein levels, something we can assess as part of a simple blood test," Erin D. Michos, M.D., M.H.S., an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, March 17, 2009