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Lower than expected numbers intolerant of statins

Wednesday February 16th 2022

The rate of statin intolerance is widely overestimated, researchers claim today.

There is clear evidence that statins bring "significant mortality and morbidity benefits" for cardiovascular disease patients, write Professor Maciej Banach, of the Medical University of Lodz, Poland, and colleagues in the European Heart Journal today.

"Non-adherence and discontinuation of statin therapy is an ongoing problem worldwide," they add.

The most commonly reported cause of discontinuation is statin-associated muscle symptoms, but the exact rate of this intolerance is unclear.

The team carried out a meta-analysis of 176 studies covering 4,143,517 patients. This showed that the overall prevalence of statin intolerance was 9.1%, when using several different diagnostic tools.

This rate was higher for older, female and Asian or Black patients. It was also raised for those with obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism, or liver and renal issues.

"Based on the present analysis of over four million patients, the prevalence of statin intolerance is low when diagnosed according to international definitions," the authors conclude.

"These results support the concept that the prevalence of complete statin intolerance might often be overestimated and highlight the need for the careful assessment of patients with potential symptoms related to statin intolerance."

Professor Banach commented: “These results were not a surprise to me but they were for many other experts. They show that in most cases statin intolerance is overestimated and over-diagnosed, and they mean that around 93% of patients on statin therapy can be treated effectively, with very good tolerability and without any safety issues."

Bytyci, I. et al. Prevalence of statin intolerance. European Heart Journal 16 February 2022 doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehac015

[abstract]

Tags: Europe | Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals | World Health

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