Statins prescriptions soar5th July 2011
The number of statin prescriptions written each year has increased by 10 million over the course of only two years.
A new report has shown around 52 million statin prescriptions are written every year and make up nearly 20% of all coronary prescriptions in England.
Statin prescriptions made up only 1% of the total in 1981, when only 295,000 prescriptions were given to patients.
The function of statin prescriptions is to reduce levels of cholesterol, which can build up in arteries and cause heart attacks.
Although the drugs have been hailed as a great achievement in tackling heart conditions, they have also been associated with kidney failure and liver problems.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says statins are recommended for patients at "high risk" of heart problems or stroke in the next decade, but it is believed many people given drugs are at a lower risk and are taking them in the hope of preventing future problems.
Professor Peter Weissberg, BHF medical director, said statins had "undoubtedly changed the face of heart disease treatment for the better and prevented many heart attacks and strokes".
"As with any other medicine, some people do experience side effects from statins but these are rarely life threatening and the benefits of statins far outweigh any disadvantages. They continue to make a major contribution to the nation’s heart health."
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