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Major review of statins

A major review published in The Lancet summarises the available evidence from previous large statin randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

This paper reviews the evidence from 25 RCTs and reports on the collective data around both the safety and efficacy of statin therapy. The review included trials that had over 1,000 participants (range 2,000 to 25,000) who were on statin treatment or placebo treatment for more than 2 years (average 5 years). Many of the studies involved middle aged adults who had established cardiovascular disease (i.e. blocked coronary arteries / atherosclerosis, previous heart attack or stroke) or were at high risk for having such conditions.

The article summarised the benefits and the risks of statin therapy across these studies and according to lead researcher, Professor Rory Collins from the University of Oxford, “our review shows that the numbers of people who avoid heart attacks and strokes by taking statin therapy are much larger than the numbers who have side effects with it”.

What does this mean for STAREE? These authors agree that we still need more evidence to provide answers where there are gaps in knowledge. It is still uncertain whether the potential benefits of statin treatment outweigh the potential harms in certain population groups, such as elderly people without a history of cardiovascular disease, as they have not been well represented in previous trials. STAREE aims to fill this knowledge gap, by comprehensively exploring all effects of statins, both positive and negative, in an unbiased way to determine the impact on outcomes, such as dementia and disability, which are important to both clinicians and participants.