Research survey shows jury is still out on statins for the healthy

Feb 07, 2011

Will statins prevent heart disease?

Anti-cholesterol drugs called statins have been in widespread use since around the mid-1990s, but their effects on the life expectancy of healthy people are not entirely clear, according to a review of clinical trials by the Cochrane Library.

There was, to be sure, a statistically significant link between statins and lower mortality rates, and there is no real doubt that the drugs do more or less what they are supposed to do, the review said.

However, the actual efficiency of statins in preventing heart disease has little confirmed scientific evidence, and there is almost no information available about negative effects from the drugs, according to Cochrane. In large part, the latter concern is due to the fact that the vast majority of the research on statins has been funded by drug companies, the review pointed out.

More independent research is needed to confirm the positive effects and rule out any potential long-term drawbacks to the use of statins as a preventive measure against heart disease, Cochrane said.

Consumers can lower their risk of developing cardiovascular problems by eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise. This should also provide for better life insurance rates, experts say.

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