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New ‘statins for everyone’ policy not backed by science

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Statins for everyone over the age of 65 is a new guideline that is far too aggressive and needs to be urgently reviewed, say researchers from the prestigious Mayo Clinic in the US. Their call follows the revelation last week that the UK’s own policy change to give statins to all over-60s was influenced by an ‘independent’ study group that was being funded by statin manufacturers.
Both the UK and the US have introduced new guidelines this year that statin therapy should begin purely on the basis of the age of the patient, irrespective of whether he or she has a raised cholesterol level, or is at risk of heart disease.
The Mayo researchers say the new guidelines fly in the face of evidence. No studies have ever shown that statins have helped prevent heart disease in anyone who is healthy and has none of the usual warning signs of high cholesterol, inflammation or a family history.
Even people who are border-line in terms of possible heart risk should be encouraged to make lifestyle changes-such as a healthier diet and exercise-before they start taking a statin.
The same goes for diabetics, who are in the same risk group as people with a history of heart attacks. Again, there’s no evidence to suggest this is the case, and that statins should be weighed up on an individual basis.
(Source: Mayo Clinic, August 14, 2014)

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