THURSDAY, July 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The risk for adverse events attributable to statins is low and does not outweigh their efficacy in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, according to a review published online July 14 in The BMJ.

Ting Cai, M.P.H., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the associations between statins and adverse events in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Data were included from 62 trials, with 120,456 participants who were followed for an average of 3.9 years.

The researchers observed associations for statins with an increased risk for self-reported muscle symptoms (21 trials: odds ratio, 1.06), liver dysfunction (21 trials: odds ratio, 1.33), renal insufficiency (eight trials: odds ratio, 1.14), and eye conditions (six trials: odds ratio, 1.23); no associations were seen with clinically confirmed muscle disorders or diabetes. The elevated risks did not outweigh the decrease in major cardiovascular event risk. There were individual associations noted for atorvastatin, lovastatin, and rosuvastatin with some adverse events, but there were few significant differences between statin types.

“These adverse effects were mild compared with the potential benefits of treatment with statins in preventing major cardiovascular events, suggesting that the benefit-to-harm balance of statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease is generally favorable,” the authors write.

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