NPR : News

Filed Under:

Study Lends Support To Long-Term Treatment With Statins

Standing in line at the drugstore or Costco might lead you to believe that just about everybody is taking a drug for high cholesterol.

And it's true that drugs to fight cholesterol, such as Zocor, now generic, and Lipitor, which is about to be, are the most frequently prescribed in the nation.

Even now, after all these years, researchers are still checking up on the drugs. And an update to a British study of Zocor, or simvastatin, that got rolling back in 1994 finds that using the drug over the long term is safe and effective.

The researchers said it was reassuring that there was no increase in deaths or illness, including cancers, from noncardiovascular causes in the group taking simvastatin during an extended follow-up period that lasted an average of 11 years.

The benefits of statin treatment for about five years was evident for years afterward in reducing heart attacks and deaths from cardiovascular causes, too. The findings were published online by The Lancet.

At the start of the study, more than 20,000 people at risk for heart disease and stroke got either daily simvastatin or a placebo. In the main part of the study that was previously reported, there were about 20 to 30 fewer deaths per 1,000 people treated with the statin for five years.

The latest update should go a long way toward dispelling any lingering worries that statins might increase cancer risk. That was an early concern with the medicines, but one that hasn't been borne out.

"We now have strong evidence ... that prolonged treatment with statins is indeed efficacious, safe, and has long-lasting beneficial effects, even after discontinuation of therapy," said an accompanying editorial, co-written by cardiologist Christopher Cannon.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Biography Of Your Cubicle: How This Became The Modern Workplace

The office has long been seen as a symbol of boredom: It's a killer of spirits, a destroyer of spontaneity. But reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says a new book brings out its entertaining side.
NPR

California Farmers Finagle A Fig For All Seasons

Two growers are competing to harvest fresh figs earlier and earlier in hopes of transforming the industry for year-round production. But some fig lovers say they can hold out for summer fruit.
WAMU 88.5

On National Mall, Native Americans Protest Keystone XL Pipeline

Native Americans from across the country are visiting Washington this week to protest the construction of a controversial pipeline in the Midwest.
NPR

Life Outside The Fast Lane: Startups Wary Of Web Traffic Plan

The Federal Communications Commission's proposal would let Web companies pay for faster access. But entrepreneurs, like Reddit's co-founder, are wondering how they would have fared with such rules.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.