Are Statins Underprescribed to Young Adults With Severe Dyslipidemia?

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The younger the patient, the less likely they were to receive a statin.
The younger the patient, the less likely they were to receive a statin.

HealthDay News – Too few young adults in the United States are receiving statin medications when indicated, according to findings published in JAMA Cardiology.

David Zidar, MD, PhD, of the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and colleagues tracked rates of statin prescriptions in people screened for dyslipidemia. The team examined data on inpatient and outpatient visits that occurred over a 3-year period at 360 medical centers across the country. All patients were between the ages of 20 and 75.

Overall, 2,884,260 individuals were included in the study. The researchers found that 3.8% of them had a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level that met or exceeded the 190 mg/dL threshold for statin use.

However, 34% of patients with severe dyslipidemia (but without any diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or diabetes) didn't get a statin. In addition, 25% of patients with even more severe LDL levels (>250 mg/dL) weren't prescribed a statin. 

The younger the patient, the less likely they were to get a statin. For example, when needed, the drugs were only prescribed for 32% of patients in their 30s, 47% of those in their 40s, and 61% of patients in their 50s.

"Treatment with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors or statins is recommended (class IA) for all adults 21 years or older with an LDL cholesterol of 190 mg/dL or greater," the authors wrote.


Al-kindi SG, Decicco A, Longenecker CT, Dalton J, Simon DI, Zidar DA. Rate of statin prescription in younger patients with severe dyslipidemia. [Published online January 4, 2017]. JAMA Cardiol. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2016.5162

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