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Statins could help more people

A cholesterol-lowering drug which lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with vascular disease and diabetes could be cost-effective among a wider group of people, according to researchers.

Simvastatin, a generic 'statin' drug, has previously been shown to be a cost-effective form of treatment for patients between the ages of 40 and 80.

However, new research by the Heart Protection Study Collaborative Group has now revealed that the drug could benefit people with just a one per cent risk of heart disease or stroke and that it could be cost-effectively prescribed for patients between the ages of 35 and 85.

"These new analyses indicate that, at current generic prices, lifelong treatment with simvastatin is cost-saving or very cost-effective for many more people than previously thought," the authors wrote in the British Medical Journal.

"Hence, statin therapy should be considered routinely for people across a wider age range and at lower risk of vascular disease than is currently the case."

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Statins could help more people
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