A new study has recommended that the NHS should review the use of statins and consider prescribing the cholesterol-lowering medications to healthy people, as the drug can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The research, carried out at the University of Oxford and reported in the Lancet, said that thousands of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented if statins became more common, and that people at low risk of experiencing high cholesterol levels would also benefit from taking this treatment. The scientists reviewed 27 trials involving 175,000 patients, finding that statins substantially lowered the risk of heart attack and stroke for all.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently examining the evidence for the greater use of statins, although the drugs have been associated with a range of side effects, including kidney and liver problems, and a higher risk of diabetes. They currently recommend that statins should only be prescribed for those with a 20 per cent or more likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease over the following decade.
Researcher Colin Baigent, said “We’ve been taught over the years that high cholesterol is the thing that matters; you mustn’t have high cholesterol.”
He added “But what we’ve actually learned is that, whatever your level of cholesterol, reducing it further is beneficial. Whatever your level of risk, the benefits greatly exceed any known hazard.”

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