The type and dosage of statin drugs given to patients to treat heart disease should be proactively monitored as they can have unintended adverse effects, concludes a new study published on bmj.com.
Researchers at The University of Nottingham found that some statins can lead to an increased risk of liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, myopathy and cataracts in patients.
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of premature death and a major cause of disability in the UK. The use of statins is often recommended to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among high risk patients.
Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice, and Carol Coupland, associate professor in medical statistics, both at The University of Nottingham, wanted to measure the unintended effects of statins on certain clinical outcomes, taking into account the type, dose and duration of use.
They studied data collected from 368 general practices contributing to the QResearch database on 2,004,692 patients aged 30-84 years including 225,922 patients who were new statin users and prescribed a range of statins. The patients' adverse outcomes were studied from January 2002 to June 2008.
The researchers estimated the effects of type, dose and duration of statin use on clinical outcomes that have been associated previously with statins and then calculated the numbers needed to treat and harm.
They found there was no significant association between use of individual statins and risk of Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, venous thrombo-embolism, dementia, osteoporotic fracture, or many cancers including gastric, colon, lung, renal, breast or prostate. There was a reduced risk associated with statin use for oesophageal cancer.
There was, however, an increased risk associated with using statins for moderate or serious liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, moder
|Contact: Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox|
University of Nottingham