Meta-analysis suggests that statins are overprescribed

September 1, 2010

There is no evidence that prescribing cholesterol-lowering statins to patients at risk for, but without, heart disease reduces their chances for early death, according to a meta-analysis.

There is no evidence that prescribing cholesterol-lowering statins to patients at risk for, but without, heart disease reduces their chances of early death, according to the findings of a recent meta-analysis.

British researchers included 11 prospective, randomized, controlled trials of statin therapy in persons free from cardiovascular disease at baseline. They reviewed data on more than 65,000 participants followed for approximately 244,000 person-years, during which time 2,793 deaths occurred, including 1,447 participants using placebo and 1,346 using statins.

The use of statins was not associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality (risk ratio, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.83-1.01). Although low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were lower among those participants taking statins than among those taking placebo, this finding did not translate into a reduced risk for premature death.