HealthDay News — More than half of patients eligible for statin therapy but not being treated report never being offered a statin, according to a study published online March 27 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Corey K. Bradley, M.D., from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues examined patient-reported reasons for statin underutilization in a cohort of 5,693 adults recommended for statin therapy in the Patient and Provider Assessment of Lipid Management registry.

The researchers found that 26.5 percent of the patients were not on treatment. Overall, 59.2 percent of those not on a statin reported never being offered a statin, while 10.1 and 30.7 percent declined a statin and discontinued therapy, respectively. The likelihood of reporting never being offered a statin was increased for women, black adults, and those without insurance (relative risks, 1.22, 1.48, and 1.38, respectively). The most common reasons cited for declining or discontinuing a statin were fear of side effects and perceived side effects. Those who declined or discontinued statins were less likely than statin users to believe statins are safe (36.9 and 37.4, respectively, versus 70.4 percent) or effective (67.4 and 69.1, respectively, versus 86.3 percent).

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“Perceptions about statin safety, rather than perceptions about atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk or statin benefit, appear to be driving statin underutilization among those who decline or discontinue therapy,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Sanofi and Regeneron, which provided funding for the Patient and Provider Assessment of Lipid Management registry.

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