Statin Drugs Effective in the Long Term

10-year study suggests cholesterol-busters lower heart attack risk

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THURSDAY, Aug. 26, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Statins, the drugs used to lower cholesterol, may decrease the risk of cardiovascular and coronary death and the incidence of cancer over the long term, according to new research.

Up till now, there's been little data to assess the long-term effects of statin medications, because most studies haven't exceeded five to six years in length.

However, this study, published in the Aug. 28 issue of the journal The Lancet, compared the outcomes of more than 2,200 Scandinavian patients who took the statin drug simvastatin (brand name Zocor) for 10 years to a similar number of patients who took the drug for five years after taking a placebo for the previous five years.

Patients in the 10-year use group had a 24 percent decrease in coronary death and a 17 percent decrease in cardiovascular death compared with the five-year use group. Those in the 10-year use group also had a 12 percent reduction in the incidence of cancer, but that was not considered statistically significant.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has more about cholesterol-lowering medications.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Aug. 26, 2004

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