Journal scan

Study could curb exaggerated claims of statin side effects

A new study could help counter adverse effects on public health of exaggerated claims about statin-related side effects, its authors say.
Statins

A new study could help counter adverse effects on public health of exaggerated claims about statin-related side effects, its authors say

A study led by Imperial College London found muscle-related side effects of taking statins are less commonly reported when patients and their doctors are unware the therapy is being used.

Research published in the Lancet journal shows that when patients knew they were taking the cholesterol-lowering drug they were more likely to report symptoms, consistent with the so-called nocebo effect.

The first phase of the trial was conducted in 1998-2002 and included 10,180 patients aged 40-79 with hypertension and at least three other cardiovascular risk factors from the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.

Randomly assigned

Patients were randomly assigned to receive atorvastatin 10mg or a placebo.

...

A new study could help counter adverse effects on public health of exaggerated claims about statin-related side effects, its authors say

Statins
A new study could curb exaggerated claims about side effects of statins. Picture: iStock

A study led by Imperial College London found muscle-related side effects of taking statins are less commonly reported when patients and their doctors are unware the therapy is being used.

Research published in the Lancet journal shows that when patients knew they were taking the cholesterol-lowering drug they were more likely to report symptoms, consistent with the so-called nocebo effect.

The first phase of the trial was conducted in 1998-2002 and included 10,180 patients aged 40-79 with hypertension and at least three other cardiovascular risk factors from the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.

Randomly assigned

Patients were randomly assigned to receive atorvastatin 10mg or a placebo. They were followed for three years in a blinded randomised trial where neither the doctors nor the participants knew whether they were receiving the drug or a placebo.

At the end of the three years the same patients were offered the choice of taking a statin or not in the non-blinded, non-randomised phase of the trial.

A total of 9,899 of the original participants were followed for a further two years, and 65% chose to use a statin.

During the non-blinded phase of the study, muscle-related symptoms were 41% more common among people taking statins compared with those who were not.


Sever P et al (2017) Adverse events associated with unblinded, but not with blinded, statin therapy in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial—Lipid-Lowering Arm (ASCOT-LLA): a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial and its non-randomised non-blind extension phase. The Lancet.
doi.31075-9

 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs