Updated NICE guidelines suggest people could be missing out on the life saving benefits of statins

1 August 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

A study published today in the British Journal of General Practice suggests that a number of people in the UK could be missing out on the life saving benefits of statins. 

Statins are the most commonly prescribed medicines in the UK. They work by lowering the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood, reducing your risk of heart attack or stroke. 

In 2014, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated their guidelines for the prescription of statins.

A study published today in the British Journal of General Practice examines the implications of the updated guidelines, and suggests that 6.3 million people are missing out on the potential benefits of statins. 

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, says: 

“There is no question that statins lower people’s risk of heart attack and stroke. This study suggests that an estimated 6.3 million people are missing out on the potential lifesaving benefits of statins. If these people were taking statins, we could not only potentially prevent 290, 000 heart attacks and strokes, but also reduce the burden of these events on both the NHS and people’s lives.

“We already know that heart attack and stroke are more common as you get older, which is why it’s so important to address risk factors at a young age. Thanks to the NHS Health Check programme, all adults over the age of 40 can have a free health check to find out if that are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. As well as taking statins, keeping active, eating a balanced diet and not smoking are vital to lowering your risk and keeping your heart healthy.”

Find out more about statins and their benefits