Statins have been found to reduce the risk for recurring cardiac problems, but not the risk of death in many studies.  A new report which appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that statins may reduce mortality significantly in men, but not in women. Researchers reviewed 11 randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies of statins in patients, one-fifth of them women. Statins were beneficial compared with placebos in preventing cardiac problems, and led to lower rates of coronary mortality and heart attacks. However, two of the five trials that reported  on “all-cause mortality” showed a reduced risk, only for men.  Regarding a reduction in stroke, the study linked a 16% lower risk for men, but no reduction for women.

According to the researchers, the disparity may be explained by factors such as less vigorous recruitment of women,  or a poorer cardiovascular profile of the women in the study.  Lead author, Dr. Jose Gutierrez, a clinical instructor in neurology at Columbia said… “Our intention is not to have women stop using statins.  For overall secondary prevention, statins work for women.  But for two outcomes – stroke and all-cause mortality – they are not as beneficial.”     NYTimes.com   7/5/12

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