Cholesterol Medications for Healthy People, I Think Not

Do Cholesterol Medications Protect Otherwise Healthy People from Heart Disease?

A recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that people who have normal cholesterol might benefit by taking cholesterol lowering medications called “statin” medications. In this study, researchers gave these medications to subjects who had normal cholesterol but an elevation in an indicator of inflammation called C-reactive protein. Researchers describe to subjects as “healthy men and women” with a bad cholesterol of less than 130 mg/dl and a C-Reactive Protein level of 2.0 or higher. One group of subjects received 20 mg daily of a medication called rosuvastatin (brand name Crestor) while the other group received an inactive sugar pill. The study, which was supposed to last five years, was ended early because researchers felt that it would be unethical to study due to aggressive decreases of heart attack, stroke, vascular surgery, hospitalization or death from cardiovascular causes.

Currently over 36 million Americans qualify for cholesterol lowering medications simply based on their high cholesterol numbers. This new study would open the door for doctors to prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication to over 10 million people who have normal cholesterol numbers. So is this study all it cracks up to be? Let’s dive into the study…

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