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More Beneficiaries of Statin Therapy Identified

Up to 80 percent of middle-aged and elderly people could benefit from statin use

THURSDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Statin therapy may benefit people without elevated low-density lipoprotein levels but with elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels, according to study findings published online Jan. 13 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Erica S. Spatz, M.D., and colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., used data from the 1999 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate that 33,547,000 American men aged 50 and older and women aged 60 and older (57.9 percent of this segment of the population) are taking a statin or are indicated for statin therapy.

The researchers estimate that an additional 11,144,000 people , or 19.2 percent of this age group, are expected to become newly eligible for statin therapy, taking to approximately 80 percent the proportion for whom statins are indicated. Those more likely to be indicated for statin therapy are female, older, obese, hypertensive and have the metabolic syndrome, the investigators found.

"[Our] findings question our current strategies for cardiovascular risk reduction and use of statin medications exclusively in individuals with cardiovascular risk and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol above what is recommended," the authors write. "Expanding recommendations for statin therapy to include individuals with at-goal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol but elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein values will pose increasing challenges for health care providers and systems…but offers a potential opportunity for advancing risk-reduction strategies."

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