Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thought for the day on statins

It is important to emphasize that coronary artery disease is best prevented. We know that lifestyle modification is probably the most important thing to do, both for primary as well as for secondary prevention.

This Sunday's (29th Jan) Star health section carried an important article on the role of "statins" which has greatly improved our understanding of the pathogenesis of CAD, and also greatly improved our ability to prevent CAD.

In fact the data on "statins " is so strong that one wonders whether "low dose statins" should be sold over the counter (without prescription) so that the public can take it. There is alot of clinical evidence that seem to suggest that everyone should take statins for primary prevention.

Of course, if statins are a perfect drug with no side-effects, then the decision is easier. But statins are not perfect. They do have side-effects. So should we all take statins with a 1% risk of side-effects, to reduce a 5% ( low risk CAD group ) risk of CAD? This remains one of the unresolved controversies in cardiology. Would you take a statin, if you have no CAD and are at low risk for CAD?

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