US task force recommends statins in healthy people despite limited benefits

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 14 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6097
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The benefit of giving statins to healthy middle aged people with a 10% risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next decade is very likely to be moderate, a leading US guideline group has concluded. But it said that these people should be given the drugs nonetheless because the benefits, though moderate, were likely to exceed the harms.

The guidance, from the US Preventive Services Task Force, excluded those aged over 75 because, it said, there was insufficient evidence in older people.1 In this respect, it differs from guidance given by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which favours statin prescription up to the age of 84.

The new US guidance is broadly in line with that of NICE and of the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC/AHA), which is not surprising …

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