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Heart Health

What do Twitter posts say about statins?

October 01, 2020

Many provide links to published research about these heart -protecting drugs. Others mention personal beliefs about statins, some of which are inaccurate.


Statins are among the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States. These cholesterol-lowering drugs help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, especially for people who've already had one of those life-threatening events. But many people stop taking their statins or don't take them as prescribed, a phenomenon doctors refer to as nonadherence.

Hoping to gain some insight into this trend, researchers analyzed 11,852 posts that mentioned statins on Twitter over a five-year period. About a quarter of Americans use Twitter, which is one of the most popular social media platforms. Although many of the tweets featured ads or financial market information, nearly half were related to health issues associated with statins. Of these, more than a third provided resource information, such as a link to a published study. About 20% included personal beliefs or attitudes about statins, which proved to be quite polarized. Some people described statins as lifesaving, while others referred to them as poisonous or deadly, according to the researchers, whose study was published June 25, 2020, in JAMA Network Open.

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