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Statins ‘could be prescribed for prevention of thrombotic complications’

GPs could in future prescribe statins more widely for the prevention of thrombotic complications, GP researchers have claimed.

The team carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 studies of statins and found people who took statins had a 15-25% lower relative risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), compared with non-users.

The findings, published in the Lancet Haematology, ‘suggest a role for statins in the primary prevention of venous thromboembolism’, the researchers said.

Analysis of data from 13 observational studies of statins, including over three million patients, indicated the relative risk of VTE was reduced by25% in statin users compared with non-users.

In 23 randomised controlled trials, involving over 100,000 patients, the overall relative risk for VTE was15% lower with statin treatment, compared with placebo.

Co-investigator Professor Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester, and co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: ‘These results provide an extensive body of evidence on the clinical benefit of statin in the occurrence of VTE and may support a true protective effect. Prevention of VTE may be another potential indication of statins.’

Lead researcher Dr Setor Kunutsor, from the University of Bristol’s musculoskeletal research unit, said statins may prevent VTE by ’downregulating the blood coagulation cascade, leading to reduced tissue factor expression, which causes reduced thrombin formation’.

Lancet Haematology 2017; available online 12 January