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Study Suggests a Wider Use for Statins
Date:9/22/2009

cholesterol (below 130 milligrams per deciliter) but an hs-CRP of 2 milligrams/liter or higher. According to the American Heart Association, an hs-CRP of less than 1 reflects a low risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that "the efficiency of treating elevated hs-CRP patients with statins is at least as good, if not better, than the efficiency of treating those with high cholesterol," Ridker said.

The new analysis, he said, is expected to help clarify future guidelines about who should and should not be on statins.

JUPITER was funded by AstraZeneca, which makes Crestor.

And though the analysis was meant to help physicians and policymakers, it does have a take-home message for patients, one expert said.

It suggests there is a much broader population that may benefit from statins, said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Those who tend to be treated those who have very high cholesterol."

Also, he said, some doctors test their patients who at risk for cardiovascular disease for CRP levels, but other do not. "You might want to ask your doctor if you should have a CRP test," Fonarow said.

To assess cardiovascular risk, a doctor takes many factors into account, including age, blood pressure, cholesterol and family history -- and the use of statins doesn't negate the need for paying attention to lifestyle issues, Ridker and Fonarow agreed. They stressed the need to maintain a healthy weight and healthy cholesterol levels, to exercise regularly and to not smoke, or to stop if you do.

And not everyone should take statins, Fonarow added. People with active liver disease, for instance, should not be on the medications, he said, nor should those who have had an adverse reaction to them.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on

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