Statins are cholesterol lowering medications that are taken to reduce an individual’s risk of having a heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. Prescriptions of statins reportedly cost the National Health Service £450 million a year.
Currently in the UK, between six and seven million people take statins every day. They are taken to help protect ‘healthy but high-risk people’ from suffering from heart disease and to help prevent strokes and heart attacks in individuals who have already had problems.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), currently suggest that statins should be taken any individuals who have a 20 percent chance of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years.
However, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford suggested that low-risk; healthy people would benefit from statins and should subsequently be prescribed to people with as low as 10 percent chance of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years.
Statins have been associated with liver and kidney problems but on the whole are reported to be clinically ‘safe’.
In response to the latest research and subsequent proposals, many people have argued that by prescribing statins to more people will not only be a great expenditure for the NHS but would also lead to people becoming lazy, rather than addressing the root cause of the problem in a number of cases – diet and lifestyle.