Are statins really such a wonder pill New study finds they DON'T prevent blood clots
2009 study suggested daily statin could reduce leg blood clots that can travel to the lungs, but latest review found no such linkMore than 7million Britons take the cholesterol-lowering drugs
15:23 GMT, 19 September 2012
15:23 GMT, 19 September 2012
Statins: The inexpensive drug is taken by more than 7million Britons a year
Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs do not appear to help prevent blood clots, according to an extensive new study.
Researchers from Oxford University led a team that looked at 29 published and unpublished trials involving over 100,000 people.
They found venous thrombosis (a blood clot formed in a vein) occurred in 0.9
per cent of people taking statins compared to one per cent of people who were
not taking the drugs. There was no difference between those who took
higher or lower doses of statins.
The study, published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine, said: 'We were unable to confirm the large proportional reduction in (clot) risk.'
However, it added that 'a more modest but perhaps clinically worthwhile' effect could not be ruled out.
In 2009, a trial called JUPITER found that so-called rosuvastatin — marketed as Crestor — halved the risk of blood clots among apparently healthy adults, a finding that boosted suggestions the drug should be taken preventively. But the figures to support this finding were relatively small.
The 2009 study randomly assigned 17,800 people to take Crestor or dummy pills.
After two years of followup, 34 in the statin group and 60 in the placebo group developed a venous thrombo-embolism, a clot which can form in the legs and travel to the lungs. The latest study, led by Kasem Rahimi, found no such effect.
Commenting on the findings, British Heart Foundation medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg, said: 'It has long been thought that statins may have additional health benefits on top of their proven ability to reduce heart attacks and strokes.
'An earlier study suggested that one statin, rosuvastatin, might reduce the risk of blood clots in deep veins and lungs, known as venous thromboembolism.
'However, findings in single studies can sometimes happen by chance. By pooling a large amount of data on several different types of statin, this analysis shows that any significant protection against blood clots is highly unlikely.'
Statins are taken by up to seven million Britons to combat high cholesterol. They work by blocking the action of key enzymes in the liver, which synthesizes the fat-like substance.
Just last week, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered new genetic evidence inking cholesterol and cancer.
The find means patients could one day be given statins to protect against developing cancer and to treat potential tumours. The drugs cost as little as 40p a day.
Maureen Talbot, Senior
Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'Statins are now a
very important part of the lives of millions of people and play a vital
role in both lowering cholesterol and helping prevent heart attacks.
'Their importance shouldn’t be
underestimated and the potential risk of side effects are outweighed by
the proven benefits. The use of statins is the main reason why fewer
people have high cholesterol levels now compared to 20 years ago.'