06 Sep USPSTF Evaluates Statin Use for Primary Prevention of Heart Disease
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Katrina E. Donahue, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor and Vice Chair of Research
Chapel Hill Department of Family Medicine
University of North Carolina
Dr. Donahue joined the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in January 2020.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in the U.S. The Task Force found that people who are 40 to 75 years old and at high risk for heart disease should take a statin to help protect their health.
People in this age group who are at increased risk but not high risk should make an individual decision with their healthcare professional about whether taking a statin is right for them. There is not enough research to determine whether statins are beneficial for people 76 years and older.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Statins are an important tool for preventing heart attacks and strokes. Whether someone should start taking a statin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke largely depends on their age and risk for cardiovascular disease. People who are 40 to 75 years old should talk to their doctor about their risk and whether a statin can help them stay healthier for longer.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
Response: Despite the effectiveness of statins in lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes, there are inequities in the rates of cardiovascular disease and access to statins among Black, Hispanic, and Asian adults. We need more information on improving the accuracy of CVD risk prediction in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, as well as the causes of statin-use disparities among these groups and how to reduce them. It’s essential that we work to better understand and help eliminate these inequities.
The Task Force is also calling for more evidence on the effectiveness, safety, and benefits of starting statins before age 40 or after age 75.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?
Response: Regardless of age and risk for cardiovascular disease, everyone can lower their chance of having a heart attack or stroke by quitting smoking, exercising more, and eating a healthier diet.
1) US Preventive Services Task Force. Statin Use for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2016;316(19):1997–2007. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15450
2) Chou R, Dana T, Blazina I, Daeges M, Jeanne TL. Statins for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Adults: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2016;316(19):2008–2024. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.15629
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