Thursday, February 17, 2011

One U.S. patient in four takes statins

Far more patients are taking statin drugs today to aid cardiovascular health than they were 20 years ago, according to a new CDC report. Among Americans 45 and older, 25% were taking the lipid-lowering therapy in the period from 2005 to 2008, up from just 2% in 1988-1994, according to the National Center for Healthcare Statistics' report on health in the U.S. in 2010. Several cardiologists contacted by MedPage Today and ABC News remarked they were unaware that such a high proportion of patients take statins, but noted the findings go hand-in-hand with recent statistics on heart disease. "These results ... may explain some of the recent remarkable declines in hospitalizations for heart attacks and heart failure," Harlan Krumholz, MD, of Yale University, said. Still, researchers are hesitant to attribute all good outcomes in heart disease to statin drugs alone. "The decline in death rates comes from improved risk factor control, especially blood pressure reductions, smoking cessation and bans, improved lipids, and better care of heart attacks," James Stein, MD, of the University of Wisconsin, said.

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