Evidence lacking for statin use in low-risk patients

A Cochrane review has cautioned against broadening the use of statins for primary cardiovascular disease prevention among low-risk patients due to a lack of sound evidence.

A systematic review of 14 randomised trials involving 34,000 participants – of whom fewer than 10% had a history of CVD – found statins decreased all-cause mortality, CVD, stroke and revascularisations with no evidence of significant harm.

However, all but one trial had pharmaceutical industry sponsorship, which may favour drugs over placebo due to biases in reporting or interpretation of trial results, the reviewers said.

They also found evidence of selective reporting of outcomes and failure to report adverse events.

Only limited evidence suggested the use of statins in a low-risk population would be cost-effective or improve quality of life, they said.

“Caution should be taken in prescribing statins for primary prevention among people at