Product News and Recalls

Researchers say statins are over-prescribed

Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have published the results of a survey that concluded many doctors are too quick to prescribe the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.

A Reuters story on the findings quotes Dr. Franz Messerli, who runs the hypertension program at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, as saying: “Many physicians are trigger happy, and do just prescribe a statin, which obviously is not necessarily correct.”

In addition to their monetary expense, the story notes that statins have been linked to side effects including muscle pain, nausea and gas and liver dysfunction.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has added warnings to the labels of Lipitor and other variations of the widely used anti-cholesterol drugs called statins, warning that they may increase the risk of Type II diabetes. The new labels also warn that the drugs may raise blood sugar levels, and could cause memory loss.

According to the Reuters story, the University of Michigan researchers surveyed 202 primary care doctors and cardiologists – providing them with surveys that included six clinical vignettes describing hypothetical patients of different ages and genders.

More than 70 percent of the respondents said they would prescribe a statin to patients who have a very low chance of developing heart disease during the next decade, based on their cholesterol and blood pressure levels and other risk factors.

The researchers said their findings suggest that doctors aren’t doing a good enough job of considering a patient’s heart risks when deciding whether to prescribe a statin.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Lipitor lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the story here: