Stronger anti-cholestrol drugs can cut heart attack deaths

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LONDON - More powerful statins - drugs used to lower cholesterol levels associated with cardiovascular diseases - can cut down deaths from heart attacks, a study shows.

Researchers from Oxford University and Sydney University looked at how death rates came down as the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood was reduced using statins.

They found that among those with a high risk of suffering a “major vascular event”, the death rate fell in proportion to the drop in the level of their bad cholesterol or LDL, according to the Lancet journal.

The effect was the same even among those with bad cholesterol within normal levels, reports the Telegraph.

Those at high risk include people who have already suffered a heart attack, suffer from diabetes or have a history of stroke.

Prof. Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said the study proved that “going the extra mile” to lower cholesterol paid off.

“The study found that for people at high risk of heart disease, more intensive statin treatment protected an extra four people in every 100 from having a heart attack, stroke or related hospital procedure over five years,” he said.

The latest research further suggests that more potent, branded statins benefit patients more.

Prof. Colin Baigent, of Oxford University’s Clinical Trials Service Unit, said: “Even among people who have reached very low bad cholesterol levels, further reduction of LDL reduced incidents of major vascular events.”

If two out of the five million statin takers were at high risk, and currently on standard doses, that would mean 16,000 people a year could be saved from suffering heart attacks, strokes, and other major vascular events.

Filed under: Heart Disease, Medicine, World

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