Blog | Friday, March 21, 2014

QD: News Every Day--New statin guidelines could create 13 million more adults eligible for prescriptions

Statin guidelines released last year could increase the number of adults who would be eligible for statin therapy by 12.8 million, mostly from new eligibility by older adults without cardiovascular disease, a study found.

Researchers applied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys of 2005 to 2010 to estimate the number of people now eligible for statin therapy under the new guidelines released released in November 2013. They compared the number of people eligible under the new American College of Cardiology–American Heart Association guidelines to the Third Adult Treatment Panel (ATP III) of the National Cholesterol Education Program, and extrapolated results to a population of 115.4 million U.S. adults between the ages of 40 and 75 years.

Results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The newly eligible population is mostly due to people classified solely on the basis of their 10-year risk of a cardiovascular event. The number of U.S. adults receiving or eligible for statin therapy from 43.2 million (37.5%) to 56 million (48.6%) compared to ATP-III, with 10.4 million of the 12.8 million increase occurring among adults without cardiovascular disease.

More men than women would become newly eligible. The percentage of eligible patients would increase from 30.4% to 87.4% among men and from 21.2% to 53.6% among women.

Researchers wrote, “Although up to 30% of adults in the younger age group without cardiovascular disease would be eligible for statin therapy for primary prevention, more than 77% of those in the older age group would be eligible. This difference might be partially explained by the addition of stroke to coronary heart disease as a target for prevention in the new pooled-cohort equations. Since the prevalence of cardiovascular disease rises markedly with age, the large proportions of older adults who would be eligible for statin therapy may be justifiable.”