- Statins offer “substantial benefits” for patients at risk for cardiovascular disease, with a low risk for side effects, concludes this scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA).
- Group reviewed many studies, mostly randomized controlled trials, of safety and side effects.
Why this matters
- >25% of US adults over age 40 years take a statin to reduce risk for cardiovascular diseases, including stroke.
- At peak effect, statins reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by up to 60%.
- Yet 1 in 10 patients stops a statin because of “subjective complaints,” say the statement authors (e.g., muscle symptoms despite normal creatine kinase measures).
- “Overall ... the benefits greatly outweigh the risks,” say the authors.
- Statement authors cover general and specific populations including pregnant women, older adults, children, those with comorbidities such as kidney disease, and certain ethnicities.
- Risk for muscle injury related to statins is
- Serious hepatotoxicity risk is ~0.001%.
- Risk for a new diabetes diagnosis is about 0.2% per year of treatment.
- Statins might raise the risk for hemorrhagic stroke in patients with cerebrovascular disease.
- The authors find “no convincing evidence” for links to cancer, erectile dysfunction, tendonitis, cataracts, cognitive dysfunction, or peripheral vascular disease.