High and mighty

When it comes to taking statins for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, aim high, says a new study by Stanford Medicine researchers.

In a large, nationwide study of patients’ medical records, those who took high-intensity statins — medications that reduce cholesterol by 50 percent or more, on average — had a 9 percent increased chance of survival over those taking medium-intensity statins. The results held true for patients between the ages of 75 and 85, a group not well-studied in clinical trials. The study also showed a benefit to taking the highest dose tolerated.

Professor of cardiovascular medicine Paul Heidenreich, MD, is the senior author and cardiology fellow Fatima Rodriguez, MD, is the lead author of the study, which was published in November 2016 in JAMA Cardiology.