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More Than Half of Statin Patients Stop Taking the Drugs

However, persistent users do reduce myocardial infarction risk by 30 percent

THURSDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In the real world, more than half of patients prescribed statins stop taking them in the first two years, but the 35 percent of patients who continue to take the drugs have a 30 percent reduction in myocardial infarction risk compared to those who stop taking them, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in the European Heart Journal.

Fernie J.A. Penning-van Beest, Ph.D., from the PHARMO Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed factors affecting the risk of acute myocardial infarction in 59,094 new statin users between 1991 and 2004.

During the first two years of treatment, the researchers found that 53 percent of patients discontinued statin use and 35 percent were persistent users. The risk of hospitalization for myocardial infarction was 30 percent lower in persistent users than in those who stopped taking the drugs, with even greater reductions with higher statin doses.

"These results show that statins are suboptimally used in real life for having the maximum benefit in terms of preventing acute myocardial infarction," Penning-van Beest and colleagues conclude.

The research was funded by an unrestricted grant from Nefarma, the Dutch association of pharmaceutical industries, but was independently designed, conducted and analyzed.

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