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Statins ‘have no effect’ on mortality in women

Statins have no significant effect on all-cause mortality and the risk of recurrent stroke in women with cardiovascular disease, concludes a meta-analysis.

The researchers pooled 11 secondary prevention trials with statins that had a minimum follow-up of 16 weeks and involved 43,191 patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

They found that statin treatment significantly reduced the risk of all-cause mortality in men by 21% compared to those on placebo, but in women the reduction was only 8% and was non-significant.

A similar disparity was also found in stroke recurrence risk – significantly reduced in men by 18% compared with placebo, but a non-significant decrease with statin treatment of 8% in women.

Reductions in myocardial infarction risk and prevention of any cardiovascular event were similar between genders.

The researchers from Columbia University, USA, concluded: ‘Increased awareness of this disparity is needed, and public policies addressing sex-specific differences in cardiovascular health are encouraged.'

Arch Intern Med 2012, online 25 June

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