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Consumer Reports Health Questions Use of Statins By Children and Some Women
Date:6/29/2010

's the potential for consumers to hear just one message — save your life, get the hot new statin. Our concern is that consumers may not need such a high-potency statin, or they may not need one at all.  And if a statin is needed, much more is known about the safety profile and side affects of the older statins," said Santa.  According to a 2009 poll by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, one in five adults have asked a doctor for a drug they saw advertised and the majority of those requests were granted.

For people who do need to take a statin, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs recommends the best choices based on a systematic review of the medical evidence, noting that the use of a high potency statin such as Crestor, Lipitor, Livalo, or generic simvastatin should be reserved for patients who need to reduce their LDL cholesterol by more than 30 percent. Evidence has mounted in recent years that the risk of life-threatening rhabdomyolysis from statins increases with the use of higher doses.

For people who need to lower their LDL by less than 30 percent, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs recommends starting with generic lovastatin or pravastatin.  These generics can be purchased for as little as $15 a month versus $125 for a branded drug like Crestor; the savings over a year can add up to as much as $1,300.  Since using a statin drug is considered a lifetime commitment, the savings over several years can amount to virtually thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars.  Lipitor, the #1 highest selling branded drug in the U.S., costs up to $168 a month but is expected to become available as a lower-cost generic in 2011.

Guidance for Parents of Children with Elevated LDL


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