The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) regularly update their recommendations on who should be treated with cholesterol lowering medications; the most frequently used class is the statin group which includes simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), and rosuvastatin (Crestor) among others. In this article we’ll discuss the current recommendations as of 2019 and when it might be reasonable to stop statin therapy.
How do statin drugs reduce heart attack and stroke risk? In summary, 1) they reduce the bad (LDL) cholesterol which promotes blockages in arteries, 2) they possibly exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect, and 3) they stabilize existing artery blockages and prevent them from rupturing like a volcano – which causes immediate cell death (pleiotropic effects). The goal for most patients is to reduce LDL levels by 30-50%. In higher risk cases, we aim for an LDL less than 70 mg/dL; this includes those with diabetes or existing heart disease.
Experts agree on a few things; for example, the following groups of people should take statin medications:
The catch is that the above guidelines typically apply only to people younger than 75 years of age. Until now, there simply hasn’t been enough data to suggest benefit for those trying to prevent heart disease in their later years. The general recent consensus has been that patients and providers discuss the individual risks and benefits and should consider stopping statins after age 75.
I appreciate the excellent service and straightforward manner Dr. Crownover has in explaining and examining my medical needs.
Great staff great facility and willing to be flexible in scheduling.
Very personable. Knowledgeable. I appreciated his commitment to my care and well being and at the same time balancing the importance of that care with my pocketbook.