The University of Nottingham, UK conducted a study suggesting statins are ineffective at lowering cholesterol to target levels in more than half of patients. Published in the journal Heart, the UK researchers found 51.2% of patients prescribed statins saw minimal benefit to their cholesterol levels within two years. Consequently, this patient class faced significant risk of developing future cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, the remaining 48.8% experienced materially successful lowered cholesterol by at least 40% but also better outcomes combatting classical cardiovascular disease conditions such as heart attack, stroke and narrowing arteries.
The study reveals the significant lack of personalization or precision when it comes today’s statin patient market. Statins are widely utilized drug for “bad cholesterol” or “low density lipoprotein cholesterol” (LDL-C)—a known contributor to the risk for the hardening and narrowing of the arteries.
The study, led by Dr. Stephen Weng, analyzed 165,400 GP patients from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink system who had previously been unaffected by cardiovascular disease before being prescribed statins reports the University of Nottingham press release.
The Nottingham researchers believe genetic factors plus patients not following prescription instructions could be an explanation for the surprising outcomes. The university noted although UK national clinical guidelines have increased the number of patients suitable for statin therapy this study emphasizes that little is known as to how a specific patient might respond. Consequently, the team declared it will continue researching statin effectivity and called for the development of new tools to help predict individuals’ response to statins to support the tailoring of treatments for better outcomes.
The research originates from the University of Nottingham, a research-intensive institution ranking among the world’s top 100. Having recently established campuses in China and Malaysia, they are ranked eight for research power in the UK according to REF 2014.
Dr. Stephen Weng, Assistant Professor, Integrated Epidemiology and Data Science