Statins only work if you take them

A large study has shown that adherence to statins is highly variable and that they only reduce mortality if they are taken regularly. The good news for men is that they are more likely than women to take their statin regularly.

In this large study from the US, published in JAMA Cardiology (doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2018.4936), patients with an adherence rate of less than 50% had a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.30 (95% CI, 1.27–1.34), those between 50% to 69% had a HR of 1.21 (95% CI, 1.18–1.24), and those 70% to 89% had an HR of 1.08 (95% CI, 1.06–1.09) compared to the most adherent patients (≥ 90%).

Interestingly, patients taking moderate-intensity statin therapy were more adherent than patients taking high-intensity statin therapy. Women were less adherent, as were minority groups. Younger and older patients were less likely to be adherent compared with adults aged 65 to 74 years.

The authors conclude that although the findings are not unexpected, they underscore the importance of finding methods to improve adherence.

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