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Differing Statin Guidelines Leave Many Clinicians Uncertain

Doctors, patients often confused by conflicting advisories on statin use


TUESDAY, April 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- If all clinicians followed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines for prescription of a statin, nine million fewer adults would be taking such medication versus adherence to the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association recommendations, according to a study published in the April 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Neha Pagidipati, M.D., M.P.H., from the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C., and colleagues evaluated data on 3,416 Americans in a nationally representative government health study.

The team found that if all doctors followed the latest guidelines from the USPSTF for statin use, the number of Americans aged 40 to 75 on these medications would rise by 16 percent. If all doctors followed the advice of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, statin use would increase by 24 percent. The researchers estimated that if all U.S. doctors followed the Task Force guidelines instead of the heart groups' recommendations, about nine million fewer Americans would be on a statin.

"At the end of the day," Pagidipati told HealthDay, "providers and patients need to have an open, informed discussion of the pros and cons of using a statin."

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