STATINS do not work for more than half of patients, a study reveals.
Around seven million Brits are given then 4p-a-day pills to reduce cholesterol levels — lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
But after analysing data on more than 165,000 users, researchers found 51 per cent failed to see a significant drop in their cholesterol.
Experts from Nottingham University warn these patients face a quarter higher risk of a heart-related death.
The major study, published in the journal Heart, says it is unclear why so many people are not benefiting.
Reasons may include GPs prescribing too low a dose, genetics and patients not taking their medication. One in five complain statins cause muscle pain — leading many to ditch them.
Statins slow down the production of cholesterol by the liver. High levels contribute to stiffening and narrowing of arteries.
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NHS guidance says treatment must reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol by at least 40 per cent to be considered effective.
Researcher Dr Stephen Weng said: “It’s not about statins not working, it’s more how we prescribe them not working.”
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “There is a substantial body of research showing statins are safe, effective drugs for most people when prescribed appropriately.”