Statins: why do patients quit when they want to keep taking them?

  • Jacobson TA & al.
  • J Clin Lipidol
  • 16 May 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Adverse experiences with statins are common, and this survey uncovers avenues for clinicians to support patients in better adherence.
  • The survey goes beyond muscle-related side effects and includes cognitive and behavioral assessments.

Why this matters

  • 1 in 5 patients discontinues statins because of adverse effects.
  • New guidelines recommend high-intensity statins for most high-risk patients, but low adherence can be an obstacle to effectiveness.

Key results

  • Patients wanted to continue their statins for the following reasons:
    • Avoiding heart attack
    • Avoiding stroke
    • Lowering cholesterol
    • Clinician recommendation
  • Of the 22.1% who discontinued, being bothered by or intolerant of side effects were the main reasons.
    • These patients also had higher symptom severity scores (P<.001 and impact severity scores vs those who continued.>
    • They also cited too much interference in daily life and viewing side effects risk as greater than the risk for cardiovascular disease if they stopped. 
  • Patients could avoid discontinuation with dose reduction or switching, and fewer of those who discontinued had tried this option. 

Study design

  • 3-stage survey of 1500 people who had taken a statin in the past 2 years and had ≥1 statin-related symptom.
  • Funding: Amgen Inc.

Limitations

  • Respondents were mostly white, non-Hispanic.

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