Navigation Links
Statins May Stave Off Gallstones
Date:11/10/2009

But prescribing them for protection would be questionable, expert says

TUESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term use of cholesterol-lowering statins appears to reduce the incidence of gallstones and the need for surgery to prevent the excruciating pain they cause, a new study indicates.

"We're talking about people who have been taking them for about 1½ years," said Susan S. Jick, director of the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Study at Boston University and a member of the team reporting the finding in the Nov. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "The protective effect seems to grow over time. The relative risk for them is about half the risk of someone who is not exposed to a statin."

Jick, an epidemiologist, was part of an international effort in which physicians at the University of Basel in Switzerland analyzed data collected in the United Kingdom. They studied the association between the use of statins, which are prescribed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and the incidence of gallstones.

Gallstones form in the gall bladder, which contains a fluid called bile that helps digest fats. About 80 percent of the time, gallstones consist of hardened pellets of cholesterol. They can block the ducts that carry bile from the gall bladder to the small intestine, and persistent blockage is not only painful but can cause dangerous infections. In many cases, removal of the gall bladder is necessary, through a surgical procedure called a cholecystectomy.

The study compared 27,035 people who had a cholecystectomy with 106,531 who had no history of gallstones. The numbers included 11,264 people who took statins, 2,396 of them in the cholecystectomy group.

Among those diagnosed with gallstones, the researchers found a gradual reduction in the need for surgery related to how long they had taken statins. For example, 2.6 percent of the people with five to 19 statin prescriptions required surgery, compared with 2.4 percent of those not taking the medication. For those with 20 or more prescriptions, the incidence of surgery was 3.2 percent, compared with 3.7 percent for those not taking the drug.

The study indicates that all statins provide the protective effect and that the effect increases with higher doses, the report said.

But the study results do not indicate whether a statin should be prescribed solely to help prevent gallstones in someone who did not have them, said Dr. Farid Kehdy, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville.

"This would have to be studied thoroughly, prescribing a medication for something that may or may not occur," Kehdy said.

And prescribing a statin to reduce the chance that surgery would be needed is also questionable, he said.

"You would have to take it for a year and a half to reduce the risk ratio," Kehdy said. "Will a patient be willing to do that? It would be a daily burden if you don't know for sure."

Medical history indicates that such a prescription would be questionable, he said. Several decades ago, Kehdy said, physicians routinely prescribed a medication, ursodeoxycholic acid, to help dissolve gallstones, but the high cost, inconvenience and side effects of the medication led to abandonment of the practice.

So a decision to prescribe a statin should center on its known benefits in cardiovascular disease, with gallstones a side issue, he said.

"If you are on a statin, the risk of gallstones would be lessened," Kehdy said. "If someone does not have gallstones, would you want to take a statin for the sake of preventing gallstones? That question remains to be addressed."

More information

The U.S. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse has more about gallstones.



SOURCES: Susan S. Jick, D.Sc., M.P.H., professor, epidemiology, and director, Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Study, Boston University, Boston; Farid Kehdy, M.D., assistant professor, surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Ky.; Nov. 11, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Statins May Worsen Fatigue in Heart Failure Patients
2. Use of statins favors the wealthy, creating new social disparities in cholesterol
3. Study Suggests a Wider Use for Statins
4. Statins Before Vascular Surgery Cut Deaths, Complications
5. Giving Statins to Kids Provokes Debate
6. Blood vessel bends and branches put the brakes on statins
7. British Medical Journal Report Supports SCHS White Paper on Statins
8. Statins May Cause Muscle Damage in Some Patients
9. Study Supports Wider Use of Statins
10. Statins Might Stave Off Alzheimers
11. Statins can protect against Alzheimers disease, according to new study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In ... benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued ... Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The ... in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to support its ... PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. ... accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, ... and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain ... for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it ... the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented ... in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the ... Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ... will take whatever measures required to build a strong ... which is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink current ... Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly in ... understand, not only by the Company, but shareholders and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Consumers have taken a more ... placed more emphasis on patient outcomes. ... in the pharmaceutical industry have evolved beyond just ... companies are focusing on becoming more patient-oriented across ... and services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Global Blood Therapeutics, ... company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of ... announced the closing of its previously announced underwritten ... at the public offering price of $18.75 per ... were offered by GBT. GBT estimates net proceeds ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: