Cholesterol-lowering statins can reduce the odds of having a heart attack by about 25% to 35%, especially in people at high risk for these common, life-threatening events. A new study by Harvard researchers suggests that one in five people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes declines to take a recommended statin drug.
The study, which spanned 19 years, included more than 24,000 people who had suffered a stroke or had heart disease, vascular disease, diabetes, or very high cholesterol. Over all, about two-thirds of people advised to take statins eventually started them, but the other third never did. Over the entire course of the study, women were more likely than men to never start a statin.
Published in the February 2023 issue of JAMA Network Open, the study also found harmful LDL cholesterol levels were higher in people who declined to take statins, thereby further increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease. The study authors are planning additional research to understand the reasons behind "statin refusal."
Image: © GIPhotoStock/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.