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Suboptimal statin use 'is wasting millions'

Prescribing ineffective doses of statins may be wasting millions, according to a prescribing expert.

Norman Evans, chief pharmacist for Wandsworth PCT, said two-thirds of prescriptions for simvastatin in his PCT had been at 10mg, a dose that he described as 'suboptimal'.

In a supplement to the journal Heart (June), Mr Evans said that at £3.2 million, simvastatin was the most costly drug for Wandsworth PCT.

He argued: 'The Scandinavian simvastatin survival study trial used an average dose of 27mg and the heart protection study used 40mg of simvastatin, so there is considerable expenditure on sub- optimal use of simvastatin.

'Historically, simvastatin was prescribed at a low dose to balance risk, cost and effectiveness. The evidence is so good now that people are prescribing at the effective dose more and more.'

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