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Wider statin use could be cost-effective preventive measure, Stanford study finds
Date:9/27/2010

STANFORD, Calif. - A new analysis suggests that broader statin use among adult patients may be a cost-effective way to prevent heart attack and stroke. The Stanford University School of Medicine study also found that using a popular test - a screening for high sensitivity C-reactive protein, or CRP - to identify patients who may benefit from statin therapy would be cost-effective, but only under certain scenarios.

"If statins are really as safe and effective as they appear to be, broadening the indications for statin therapy would be an effective and cost-effective strategy," said Mark Hlatky, MD, professor of health research and policy and of cardiovascular medicine. "But under different assumptions, targeted CRP screening would be a reasonable approach," Hlatky is the senior author of the findings, which will appear online Sept. 27 in Circulation.

The study comes almost two years after a major clinical trial, known as the JUPITER study, showed that millions more people could benefit from taking statins, even if they have low cholesterol. That study involved patients with low cholesterol levels but elevated levels of CRP, which indicates inflammation in the body and suggests a greater risk of heart attack and stroke.

Under current clinical guidelines, statin therapy is recommended for individuals at high risk: those identified as having a 20 percent or more risk of some sort of cardiovascular event in the next 10 years. But heart attacks and stroke also occur in many people at lower risk levels, and the findings from the JUPITER study suggested that measuring CRP levels might identify patients who would benefit from statin therapy.

Still, that research did not address whether it would be cost-effective to do more screening and/or to give more people statin therapy. Accordingly, Hlatky and his colleagues sought to compare the cost-effectiveness of different strategies to prevent heart disease.

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Contact: Michelle Brandt
mbrandt@stanford.edu
650-723-0272
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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