Wider use of statins could cut deaths from heart disease
Up to 8,000 lives could be saved every three years by offering statins to anyone with a 10 per cent risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) within a decade, says NICE.
n an update to the 2006 guideline on lipid modification, NICE recommends that the threshold for starting preventative treatment for CVD should be halved from a 20 per cent risk of developing CVD over 10 years to a 10 per cent risk.
Up to 4.5 million people could be eligible for statins under the lower threshold. Offering statins to all eligible people could help to prevent up to 28,000 heart attacks and 16,000 strokes each year.
Currently, 1 in 3 deaths in the UK are caused by CVD, accounting for 180,000 deaths each year. CVD has a significant burden of disability and up to £8 billion of NHS resources are tied up in CVD.
NICE recommends that GPs start statin treatment for the primary prevention of CVD with atorvastatin 20 mg. Patients with established CVD should be offered a higher strength 80mg dose of atorvastatin.
However, not everyone with a 10 per cent or greater risk of CVD within 10 years will need to take a statin and the guideline advises that preventative lifestyle measures are adopted first.
Professor Mark Baker, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said: “To make progress in the battle against heart disease and stroke, we must encourage exercise, improve our diets still further, stop smoking, and where appropriate offer statins to people at risk.
“Doctors have been giving statins to ‘well people’ since NICE first produced guidance on this in 2006. We are now recommending the threshold is reduced further. The overwhelming body of evidence supports their use, even in people at low risk of CVD.
“The effectiveness of these medicines is now well proven and their cost has fallen. The weight of evidence clearly shows statins are safe and clinically and cost effective for use in people with a 10% risk of CVD over 10 years.”
Are statins for you? NICE have further advice to help decide, click here.