Cardiologists know of the beneficial effect of statins, the main class of medications to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. Much of the evidence has been from randomized controlled trials over the last 10-20 years, where patients treated with statins were less likely to have a heart attack compared with those who were not.
An interesting study from Denmark now gives us solid evidence about the beneficial effect of statins in real-life patients. Denmark has nationwide medical records of all patients. In this analysis, all Danish patients who were started on statins have been included from 1995 to 2010.
The most important message from the study was that those who stopped statins early were 26% more likely to have a heart attack and 18% more likely to die, during follow-up. These figures are convincing, especially considering that it comes from ALL patients in Denmark during that period of time.
Nielsen SF, Nordestgaard BG. Negative statin-related news stories decrease statin persistence and increase myocardial infarction and cardiovascular mortality: a nationwide prospective cohort study. Eur Heart J. 2015 Dec 1. PMID: 26643266
Dr Andrew To