Aptitudes

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The 9 million patient statin gap: How are HCPs addressing it?

Differences in leading guidelines on statin therapy to prevent stroke and heart attack leave practitioners uncertain of how to treat about nine million patients. This gap includes many patients younger than 60 years old and those who have diabetes. Should these patients be prescribed statins or not?

We asked U.S.-based members of our digital HCP platform what they thought about the lack of alignment between the guidelines, and how they were addressing the uncertainty.

Here’s what they told us:

• 23% agreed with the 2016 USPSTF guidelines, which recommend statins for a smaller number of patients

• 29% agreed with the 2013 AHA/ACC goals, which cover a greater number of patients

• 7% thought both guidelines tended to underprescribe statins

Here’s what surprised us: 41% of participants thought that both guidelines tended to overprescribe statins

So there’s not just a gap between the guidelines; there’s also a big gap in prescribers’ attitudes and behaviors around these guidelines.

On a topic as divisive and important as this, further research, communication, and education on the rapidly changing landscape of statin therapy are needed to support clinical decisions. Meanwhile, members of our community are sharing their own approaches to patient care when it comes to statins:

“I prescribed statins for patients with a 15% risk but worked on life style change for those with risk between 5 and 14%. Then, as a low risk person with a cholesterol of 220, I found I had a 99% proximal LAD occlusion. Now, I have lowered my threshold for using statins.”

“Too many of us are afraid of the risks out of proportion to the benefits. It’s likely that a survey of cardiologists, endocrinologists, nephrologists, etc. would reveal that most are on statins, and often above the starting dosage, even if their lipid profile does not merit such treatment according to guidelines, because they fear the disease that aggressive lipid lowering may prevent.”

“I heed the information in the guidelines, discuss the treatment options with the patient, discuss the known risks, and then we come to an acceptable treatment decision. The patient is empowered to stop therapy, report all concerns about the drugs. They are encouraged to do some research about the category on their own before starting the therapy.”

Debate on this on this and other key clinical topics are happening now among prescribers– are you part of the conversation?

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