Preventive Statin Use Recommended by US Task Force
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The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in November 2016 became the latest in a string of organizations to recommend wider preventive use of statins for otherwise healthy individuals based on their risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The USPSTF guidance, which was based on a systematic review of the literature, reflects a growing consensus in medicine that the potential benefits of preventive statin use likely outweigh the risks for patients who meet certain criteria. The USPSTF recommendations are very similar to those from the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guideline, which initially proved controversial because of a shift from cholesterol targets to risk-based eligibility for statins. This change led to an increase by millions in the number of US individuals who were eligible for preventive statins.
Since then, other groups have also recommended wider use of the medications to prevent heart attacks and strokes, including the Joint British Societies, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
“It’s reassuring that groups that used similar methodologies and the highest quality of evidence came to independent but remarkably similar conclusions,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, a coauthor of the 2013 ACC/AHA guideline and chair of the department of preventive medicine at …