Stories in the press questioning the safety of statins seem to have increased the proportion of people who have stopped taking the drugs in the UK.
Researchers used the Clinical Practice Research Datalink to identify patients newly eligible for or taking statins for primary and secondary prevention each month between January 2011 and March 2015. The high media coverage, which, the authors suggest, ran from October 2013 to March 2014, did not seem to alter statin initiation for either primary or secondary prevention but patients already taking them were more likely to stop taking them (an 11 and 12 per cent increased likelihood for primary and secondary prevention).
Older patients and those with longer continuous prescriptions were more likely to stop taking statins after the media coverage but six months after coverage ended there seemed to be no increased rates of cessation.
“These effects could result [in] more than 2,000 extra cardiovascular events across the UK over a 10-year period,” the authors conclude.