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"Statins reduce blood-clot risk: study"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 30 Mar 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2½ stars)

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

Statin drugs, taken by millions of Americans to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, also can cut the risk of developing dangerous blood clots that can lodge in the legs or lungs, a major study suggests.

The results provide a new reason for many people with normal cholesterol to consider taking these medicines, sold as Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor and in generic form, doctors say...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 10
Availability of Treatment 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 Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information 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)

This is a report reflects a study saying that drugs such as Crestor can nearly "half the risk of blood clots in people with low cholesterol but high scores on a test for inflammation" - a case that "plays a role in many diseases." The problems with such a report is that it is based on preliminary research which showed a very small (and poorly quantified) benefit for blood clot prevention.

To say that a drug such as "Crestor dramatically lowered rates of heart attacks, death and stroke" is a huge exaggeration as the lowered risk rates represent a very small number (less than one percent). A quick calculation indicates that 0.38% (34 in 8,901-half of the total participants) of individuals taking Crestor developed a venous thromboembolism compared to 0.67% (60 in 8901) in the placebo group. These extremely small numbers have been exaggerated in the report and thus are misleading.

The report did include information on potential conflicts of interest and it might be of some concern to the readers that the researchers of the study own patents in a test for C-reactive protein (CRP). The author borders on disease mongering when describing the prevalence of injury due to blood clots. The article states that "several hundred thousand Americans develop such clots each year, leading to about 100,000 deaths" and implying that those blood clots could be prevented with a statin- this is an exaggeration of the treatment option that is not supported by this trial.

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