Statins ‘remarkably safe’

Long-term statin therapy is ‘remarkably safe’ according to a consensus panel of experts reviewing data over the last 17 years.

A modest risk of new onset diabetes mellitus (1/1000 patients per year of exposure) is offset by the benefit of avoiding five new cardiovascular events, says the report published in the European Heart Journal (doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehy182).

Statin use is not associated with adverse effects on cognitive function or clinically significant deterioration of renal function and does not increase the risk of cataract or haemorrhagic stroke in individuals without prior stroke.

Transient increases in liver enzymes occur in 0.5–2% of patients taking statins but are not clinically relevant; idiosyncratic liver injury due to statins is very rare and causality difficult to prove.

The panel concludes that the established cardiovascular benefits of statin therapy far outweigh the risk of adverse effects.

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