A Closer Look at Statin Discontinuation

A Closer Look at Statin Discontinuation

According to current guideline recommendations, once patients are started on statins, they’re virtually mandated to continue taking them for the rest of their lives. This can represent a serious challenge for many patients. Many patients believe the symptoms they experience are the result of taking statins, but the clinical trials suggest the incidence of statin-related side effects is similar to placebo. Analyzing Statin Discontinuation Causes In a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, my colleagues and I investigated the reasons for statin discontinuation and the role of statin-related events in routine care. The 8-year analysis involved more than 100,000 pa­tients who were prescribed a statin. More than half (53.1%) stopped taking a statin at least once during the course of treatment. Just over two-thirds had a reason documented in their records for statin discontinuation, with the most common reason listed as “no longer necessary.” Other reasons included cost, a change of statin requested by an insurance company, switching to another drug, or patients not wanting to take a statin. Importantly, 17.4% of study participants had a documented statin-related event during the study, the most common being myalgia or myopathy. Of those with these events, most stopped taking the statin temporarily. More than half who stopped therapy were rechallenged with a statin over the following 12 months. Of these patients, 92.2% were taking a statin 12 months after the original statin-related event. For those who stopped taking statins for reasons other than a statin-related event, about two-thirds had another statin prescription over the following 12 months; most of these were for a different statin. Of those who restarted, 98.0%...

Counseling Improves Adherence to Lipid-Lowering Therapy

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk-factor counseling of patients with indications for statin therapy for primary or secondary prevention of CVD appears to improve lipid profiles when compared with routine care, according to an analysis from the Netherlands. For the study, CVD risk-factor counseling included education on: Modifiable and un-modifiable risk factors. Absolute 10-year CVD risk. Target risk that could be reached if all modifiable risk factors were optimally treated. All patients who underwent the counseling intervention were more adherent to statin therapy and less anxious about taking the medications. Abstract: American Journal of Cardiology, September...