Statins Work Regardless of Protein Levels

Scientists find cholesterol-lowering statin drugs benefit heart disease patients regardless of C-reactive protein levels

(RxWiki News) A new study counters the claim that statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) only work for individuals with a certain protein.

Researchers found statin drugs work with the same effect in heart disease patients, men with hypertension (high blood pressure) and patients with diabetes, regardless of whether the patient has concentrations of C-reactive protein. Prior research had linked C-reative protein levels to statin efficacy in patients.

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a cardiology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study, said patients with vascular disease or diabetes will derive substantial benefit from statin treatment.

The study did not confirm whether levels of the C-reative protein play a role in the effectiveness of the drugs in healthy people.

The study followed 20,536 men and women at high risk for heart problems who took either the statin Zocor® (simvastatin) or a placebo for an average of five years and found even those with low levels of LDL ("good") cholesterol and low C-reactive protein also benefit from the medication.

The study was funded by Merck, the manufacturer of Zocor®.

Possible side effects of statins include, muscle pain and damage, possible liver damage, digestive problems and rash or flushing, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Review Date: 
February 2, 2011