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Who should be treated with statins?

 

Narrator:    This is Science Today. Statins are a class of medications that lower cholesterol.

Pletcher:    Statins inhibit an enzyme, which is along the critical path for cholesterol synthesis.

Narrator:    Mark Pletcher, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, has been studying when is the best time to prescribe statins. These medications used to be very expensive, but the cost has gone down dramatically.

Pletcher:    It really opens up the question about who should be treated and who shouldn't be. There's more and more evidence that we should be thinking about being more aggressive with statins — so, people with LDL cholesterols in the range of 130 or 140, who are in middle age and maybe have one or two other risk factors, wouldn't necessarily get treated by current guidelines, but that would be one group that might actually benefit from statins and it would include consideration of treatment of younger adults who are at higher risk, who have other risk factors.

Narrator:    For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.