Top doctors criticise plans to advise millions to take statins

A group of doctors have criticised plans to advise millions more people to take cholesterol-reducing statins. The drugs are offered to around seven million people in the UK who have a 20% risk of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years.

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Top doctors criticise guidance on taking statins

Plans to advise millions more people to take cholesterol-reducing statins have been criticised by a group of leading doctors.

Statins are offered to as many as seven million people in the UK. Credit: ITN

Around seven million people in the UK, who have a 20% risk of developing a cardiovascular disease within 10 years, are currently offered the drugs.

The NHS have been urged to widen this to cover those with just a 10% risk, draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) shows.

However, a number of prominent clinicians, including the president of the Royal College of Physicians and a former chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, have written a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressing their concerns.

They claim the latest guidance is based almost entirely on studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry and said non-industry sponsored studies showed an increased risk of developing diabetes in middle aged women taking statins.

Other side effects include fatigue, psychiatric symptoms and erectile dysfunction, the clinicians warn.

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