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Half of people prescribed statins are left at high risk of heart disease because the pills fail to lower their cholesterol, a major study suggests.
Experts called for a much more tailored approach to the use of statins in the wake of the 'clearly alarming' findings.
Study - People - University - Nottingham - Cent
The study of 165,400 people, led by the University of Nottingham, showed 49 per cent of patients given the drugs did not see their cholesterol fall to healthy levels within two years.
Researchers believe this may be down to certain people's genetic make-up rendering the pills ineffective, or it could be that other medications they take interfere with the way statins work.
Theory - People - Study - Statins - Effect
Another theory, however, holds that many people in the study may have simply stopped taking their statins, which is why they did not see an effect.
Roughly six million people in Britain take cholesterol-busting statins, preventing 80,000 heart attacks and strokes every year at the cost of roughly £20 a year per patient.
Drugs - Levels - 'bad - LDL - Cholesterol
The drugs are designed to cut levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol in the blood, reducing furring of the arteries and cutting the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
But the new study, which used GP records from patients across the UK, found only half of patients prescribed statins saw the response they expected.
Researchers - Cent - Patients - Statins - Cholesterol
The researchers found for 51 per cent of patients statins were incredibly effective - cutting cholesterol by at least 40 per cent within two years.
But for the other 49 per cent there was no significant impact.
Patients - Pills - Cent - Disease
And those patients who did not respond to the pills were 22 per cent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who did.
The researchers admitted the data only showed whether each participant was prescribed statins - not whether they actually took it - so they urged patients not to stop taking their medication until there are more definitive...
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