Report: Nearly half of patients stop taking prescribed meds

Patients are just giving up on cholesterol-lowering drugs

Chris Miller
August 09, 2017 - 6:54 am
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Cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as statins are considered lifesavers, and many Americans are told by their doctors to take them regularly. But according to new research, a lot of patients just give up on the regimen. 

It's not like patients ignoring doctor's advice is a new phenomenon, but when it comes to cholesterol lowering statins, a greater chunk of patients just give up. Nearly a third after three months, and 45 percent in about 6 months, according to the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Statins are worse than other drugs with regard to how frequently people stop them," said Dr. Frank Smart, chief of cardiology at LSU Health New Orleans.

Dr. Smart says some patients hear or read news about statins and bad side effects,but he says those cases are rare, and patients should talk to their doctors about those concerns before giving up.

Other times, patients may think they've made sufficient lifestyle changes, liking eating a healthier diet or exercising. But Dr. Smart says changing lifestyle is only part of the treatment.

"In patients with a heart attack, statins not only lower cholesterol, but they also do what's called 'stabilize' the plaque,' keep it from breaking open and causing another heart attack."

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