Statin treatment efficacy, risk and controversy
Mainstream media coverage of healthcare topics is often prone to sensationalism, designed to invoke attention and reactions, making it difficult for the general public to discern what is true and what is not. Statins in particular have been controversial for many years despite their popularity and many media articles express negativity about their usefulness.
In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, Cai et al (2021) aimed to assess the associations between statins and adverse events in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, analysing how the adverse events can be variable according to the type of statin given and the dosage of the statin.
The systematic review and meta-analysis looked at previous systematic reviews on Medline and other reputable databases up to August 2020. Studies included randomised controlled trials in adults with no history of cardiovascular disease, where statins were compared with non-statin controls, or different types or dosages of statins were compared. The primary outcomes were common adverse events, including self-reported muscle symptoms, clinically confirmed muscle disorders, liver dysfunction, renal insufficiency, diabetes, and eye conditions. Secondary outcomes were defined as myocardial infarction, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease as measures of efficacy.
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