Statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular events

Cordon A, de Meester C, Gerkens S, Roberfroid D, De Laet C
Record ID 32018000254
Authors' results and conclusions: A healthy lifestyle remains the most effective way of avoiding cardiovascular diseases and their consequences. Yet since 2002, the annual number of people who use cholesterol-lowering drugs from the statin family increased from 400,000 to 1,500,000. Currently, 25% of the population aged 40 and above take these drugs. Despite decreases in price due to the fact that all statins now exist in generic form, their total cost still stands at 160 million euros annually. Moreover, the analysis of individual consumption shows that, in Belgium, approximately 55% of new statin users do not take this treatment correctly or abandon it along the way. By lowering the blood cholesterol level, statins supposedly decrease the risk of myocardial infarct and cerebrovascular accident in primary prevention, that is, in persons who have not yet had this type of problem. But in terms of actual benefit for health, their adverse effects must also be taken into account. These adverse effects are, in fact, few in number but they are potentially serious. Thus in individuals with a low baseline risk, the potential benefits are limited, while the risk of adverse effects remains unchanged. It is therefore necessary to weigh the pros and cons carefully before prescribing them.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2019
URL for published report:
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: Belgium
MeSH Terms
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Primary Prevention
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Belgium
Organisation Name: Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre
Contact Address: Administrative Centre Botanique, Doorbuilding (10th floor), Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 55, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium tel: +32 2 287 33 88 fax: +32 2 287 33 85
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Copyright: Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE)
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