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No evidence statins work on non-cardiovascular conditions

Tuesday October 9th, 2018

There is not enough evidence to suggest statins, used to treat heart disease, could be beneficial for other conditions, according to a new analysis.

Although previous studies have suggested that statins could help people with non-heart related conditions such as cancer, dementia and kidney disease, a review of 256 studies found that although there are positive signs, the results are inconclusive.

Writing in Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers, led by the University of Edinburgh, UK, say after examining the benefits of statins for 278 non-heart disease conditions, there is not enough evidence to support a change in current guidance for the way they are prescribed.

Dr Evropi Theodoratou, from the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, said: “The role of statins in reducing the risk of heart disease is well established. Evidence that the drugs offer benefits for non-heart disease conditions is less clear cut, however. We found current evidence credibly supports a favourable link for just a few diseases.

“The absence of harmful side-effects associated with taking statins is reassuring. Yet, we cannot exclude the possibility that some reported harms – such as severe muscle pain – are too rare to rule out with certainty.”

The team found evidence that statins can help to prevent deaths from kidney disease, which is already recognised in clinical guidelines. It also recommended further studies to establish if the drugs can help to slow cancer progression. Existing data about the benefits of statins for COPD are insufficient.

They examined studies to see if statins could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and found neither positive nor negative links.

Annals of Internal Medicine 8 October 2018

Tags: Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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