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Ninety percent of patients at risk of CHD fail to receive statins

New research has revealed that 90% of US patients at risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) fail to receive statins, putting a massive section of the population in danger.

The study, published in Current Medical Research and Opinion, provides the first ever real-world view of the treatment landscape for patients at risk of CHD1, with a sample of two million patients. But the results paint a bleak picture of prescribing patterns with the majority not being given the potentially life saving drug.

The research used data from the HealthCore Integrated Research Environment (HIRE), a repository of medical and pharmacy claims on over 30 million health insurance plan members from across the US. The data were used to characterize patients at risk of CHD by demographics, clinical characteristics, statin treatment patterns, and adherence to prescribed medications.

“Statin use following a dyslipidemia diagnosis was low, with nearly 90% of all patients, and nearly 70 percent of those at very high risk of CHD, not receiving statins.” said lead author, David Kern, HealthCore research manager. “That’s a startling high number, especially given that the consequences of inappropriate lipid levels include heart attacks, which are potentially fatal.”

Robert M. Guthrie, M.D. Professor of Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pharmacology at the Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio. said: “This paper captures a very large amount of extremely important data on the underuse of statin therapy in patients at all levels of cardiovascular risk. I expect that this article will become one of the standard reference articles on the use/underuse of statin therapy across the risk spectrum.”

Furthermore, Ivana Burazor, MD, PhD of the University of Nis, Clinic of Cardiovascular Diseases, Serbia stated that the “This study could serve as a baseline for categorizing patients by CHD risk category as defined by the NCEP ATP III guidelines using administrative claims data. Despite a large proportion of patients having high lipid levels, statin use following a dyslipidemia diagnosis was low, indicating a potentially large population of patients who could benefit from statin treatment.”


[1]As defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel II guidelines.

Statin treatment patterns and clinical profile of patients with risk factors for coronary heart disease defined by National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III , David M. Kern, Sanjeev Balu, Ozgur Tunceli, and Deborah Anzalone, Current Medical Research and Opinion, doi:10.1185/03007995.2014.971151, published December 2014.