Heart risk women should be on statins, say experts

Dallas: Women with a “moderately high risk” of heart problems should be prescribed the anti-cholesterol drugs called statins, according to a leading expert.

Professor Scott Grundy from the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center argues in the British Medical Journal that women should not be ruled out simply because of their gender.

The drugs are designed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol linked to heart disease called LDLs. While many studies have found that statins can prevent heart disease in men, the case for women is much less conclusive.

However, lack of evidence for their effectiveness on women in part because women make up only 16 per cent of those who take part in statins trials has led some experts to argue against their use.

Yet he said there was already general agreement that both men and women at high risk of heart disease should get intensive drug therapy.

Professor Grundy wrote: ‘Until a large-scale clinical trial is carried out to test the efficacy of cholesterollowering in women at moderately high risk, drug therapy should be avoided in most lower risk women.

‘But in those with multiple cardiovascular risk factors and who are projected to be a moderately high risk, use of drugs should not be ruled out.’