Statins reduce heart disease risk

11 January 2016        

Category: BHF Comment

A picture of statins being taken out of the packet

Recent stories in the press have claimed that statins cause heart disease. We disagree with the conclusions made in the review of research, which was reported on in the articles. 

A team of researchers from Japan and the USA selected and reviewed a series of studies looking at how cholesterol-lowering statins have an effect on the cells of the body. They concluded that, contrary to most evidence, statins trigger coronary heart disease and heart failure. Information from studies of this kind is different from what we learn when looking at how statins affect people in clinical trials.

Safe and effective

Stories in the press can cause people to worry about their prescribed medication. But the vast majority of evidence, including from studies that we funded, shows statins are very safe and effective at reducing a person's risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Heart Matters magazine put readers' questions on statins to an expert. Read the article to find out more about this widely prescribed drugs. 

Our thoughts on the news

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

"The majority of published evidence supports the current advice on taking statins and some of the best evidence about the safety and effectiveness of statins has come from the Heart Protection Study, which was research funded by the public through donations to the BHF and tax payer funding via the Medical Research Council

"We can be very confident that statins lower the bad LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and help to reduce a person's risk of a deadly or disabling heart attack or stroke. Thousands of lives a year are saved by statins, which are now very affordable for the NHS because so many are off-patent.

"It is particularly important that people at high risk of a heart attack or stroke take their prescribed medication. Individuals can assess their cardiovascular risk and find information about how to reduce it using the NHS heart age tool on the BHF website. If someone is unsure about their heart medicines, they can speak with their GP or contact our helpline on 0300 330 3311."

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Research the only way to show whether a medicine is safe and effective. Help us fund more clinical studies like the Heart Protection Study by donating.