The evidence shows that statin drugs are effective in reducing the rate of heart attacks and death in people who have already had a heart attack as well as in people who are at high risk of having one.
Being exposed to negative news coverage about statins seems to get patients to stop using the drug, according to a new study published in the European Heart Journal.
Statins lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is now recognized that the treatment can lead to side effects such as muscle weakness and muscle aches. When the media reports of such side effects, it seems to affect the patients’ attitude to the drug, according to Danish researchers.
Among patients who took note of the negative news about statins, both regional and national, there was a small increased percentage of those who stopped taking the drug.
Within the study, the researchers examined the Danish news reports about the drug group between 1995 to 2010 and found 1931 articles about statins. Articles were graded as negative, neutral or positive. They also identified 647,900 Danes who used the drug, and followed up on them beginning in 1995.
Between 1995 and 2010, many patients chose to stop treatment, the numbers of those who stopped their treatment increased from 6 to 18 percent. During those fifteen years, negative articles about statins increased from 30 per year to more than 400 annually.
The study is observational and therefore it is not possible to draw any scientific conclusion based on the results. The researchers stated that the findings point to the need for increased levels of information for the patient groups who recently started the statin treatment.