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Statins more effective when targeted

Statin treatment is far more

effective when done to target in high-risk patients, as opposed to deploying low doses to a wider population, new research shows.

The findings also question suggestions that widespread low-dose prescribing of statins could save money by cutting cardiovascular events.

Study author Professor Thomas MacDonald, head of the medicines monitoring unit at the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, said: 'Our findings suggest adherence to statins is worse in

patients treated on a "fire-and-forget" basis than in patients treated to a target cholesterol concentration, and that this prescribing strategy is associated with worse cardiovascular outcomes.'

In an early online paper in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety he reports that patients treated to target had a 2.5-fold better adherence to treatment than those in a 'fire-and-forget' cohort. They also had a 59 per cent lower cardiovascular disease event rate, even after adjustment for baseline risk and adherence.

Dr Ian Hume, chair of Norfolk LMC, said: 'I would always go on the evidence base and try to assess those at risk and follow the targets set down by bodies such as NICE and the QOF. It should be based on the evidence, and going for targets.'

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