Clinician beliefs about statins have little effect on prescribing

  • Clough JD & al.
  • J Am Heart Assoc
  • 5 Feb 2019

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Primary care clinicians hold wildly varying beliefs about the safety and efficacy of statins, but these biases do not seem to have much effect on their prescribing practices. 
  • A “high proportion” of patients still resist statins even when clinicians recommend the therapy.

Why this matters

  • Despite guidelines-based increases in the number of patients who would be eligible for statins, adherence to these guidelines has been limited.

Key results

  • 27.8% of providers thought statins were associated with developing diabetes, and 16.7% of providers brought this up with their patients.
  • 97.2% thought statins caused myopathy, and 72.3% overall discussed that belief with patients.
  • 77.7% used the 10-year atherosclerotic risk calculation always/very often.
  • Most of them nailed the risk reduction ranges, although some cited very high or low estimates; 8 said statins have no effect on cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Effect of provider beliefs on prescription uptake was marginal.

Study design

  • 164 primary care clinicians in North Carolina surveyed in 2017; 43.9% completed the survey.
  • Funding: American Heart Association; NIH.

Limitations

  • Regional study, single health system; pretty low response rate.

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