Statin prescribing fell after drug became available over the counterBMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7568.569-c (Published 14 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:569
All rapid responses
This news article reporting a fall in the number of prescriptions for
statins will, I suspect, have suprised the majority of your readers.
The original paper on which the article was based was published in
the Journal of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. It was suggested that
a fall in the number of prescriptions for statins was associated with the
availability of over-the-counter simvastatin. No data was provided on the
number of sales for OTC simvastatin. Locally, sales of this drug have been
minimal and I suspect this is reflected nationally.
The authors of the paper found a fall in the number of prescriptions
for 10mg statins. I would argue it is totally inappropriate to look at
10mg doses of statins collectively, the different statins all having
different potencies. In this PCT, we have seen a large increase in the use
of simvastatin, particularly the 40mg strength and a reduction in the
lower strengths of alternative statins. This reflects the large evidence
base for simvastatin, particularly the 20mg and 40mg strengths and the
very significant price reduction seen following the availability of
generic simvastatin. Overall, however, we have seen an increase in the
number of all prescriptions for statins, locally and nationally.
The General Practice Research database is a very useful source for
matching prescribing to diagnosis. For accurate data on prescribing only,
we have the information provided by the Prescription Pricing Authority.
This shows the expected increase in statin prescribing.
Competing interests: No competing interests