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Some patients will benefit more than others from taking statins because of their genetic makeup, a new study suggests.

US research found patients with two common genetic polymorphisms experienced a smaller than normal reduction in cholesterol after statin treatment.

The authors said their findings provided strong clinical evidence for 'personalised medicine' and the use of genetic screening to target certain therapies in the future.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month, 1,536 patients received 40mg pravastatin per day. Researchers analysed blood samples for 148 single-nucleotide polymorphisms within 10 candidate genes related to lipid metabolism.

After 24 weeks of treatment total cholesterol levels fell, but the size of the reduction was 22 per cent smaller in patients with two closely linked polymorphisms in the HMG-CoA reductase gene. The fall in

levels of LDL cholesterol was 19 per cent smaller.

Lead author Dr David Chasman of Harvard Medical School said the difference in effects was 'large enough to

affect health on a population basis' but could be offset by dose adjustment or use of an alternative non-statin lipid-lowering therapy.

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