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"Study Finds Millions More May Benefit From Statins"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 20 Mar 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (1 star)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Cholesterol-lowering statins could cut the risk of heart attacks in as many as 6.5 million Americans who have low cholesterol but high levels of a blood marker for inflammation, researchers report.

Statins are known to prevent subsequent heart attacks and strokes in patients who've already suffered one of these cardiovascular events, and the drugs also protect people who haven't had a heart attack or stroke but are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease due to factors such as high cholesterol or diabetes...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 2 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Not Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Thousands could be saved if more people took _____ (fill in the blank). These types of stories appear frequently in the media and, although they may be true, they are often based on a simplistic analysis and often neglect to mention harms caused by treatments.

This particular story crosses the line into the realm of disease-mongering by exaggerating the potential benefit of the use of statins in this population and the prevalence of the condition in question--in this case, people with low cholesterol but with high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker for inflammation.

From the information provided in this story, we have no sense of the magnitude of benefit or harm related to the drug and no sense of how high the heart-attack risk is for these "high CRP" patients. If statins may help these patients, it would be useful to know how much their risk could be reduced and at what cost. Providing comparative information for alternative treatment options could help potential patients to make a more informed treatment decision.

You may need to take a statin if you've had a heart attack but it wouldn't be wise to go rushing to your doctor for a prescription on the basis of this story.

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