Patients Who Stop Statin Risk Death

Using data on British patients who survived an AMI and were still alive three months later, Dr. Stella Daskalopoulou and colleagues found that those who discontinued their statin medication were 88 per cent more likely to die during the following year compared to those who had never been on the medication.

"Statins were found to be beneficial drugs," said Daskalopoulou of McGill's Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Medicine and the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at the MUHC. "Patients who used statins before an AMI and continued to take them after were 16 per cent less likely to die over the next year than those who never used them. So even if it appears that the statins failed to prevent your AMI, it is beneficial to continue taking them and potentially quite harmful to stop", she added.

The large, population-based cohort study was conducted using UK data to take advantage of the medical records kept in the General Practice Research Database (GPRD), which collects information on the health of more than three million patients across the UK.

The harmful effects of statin discontinuation may be the result of many different mechanisms, including individual patient characteristics, the researchers explained. "Regardless of the mechanism or explanation, physicians should be careful when assessing each patient's medication needs," Daskalopoulou said. "Patients also need to take their medications exactly as prescribed after an AMI. Statins in particular should only be withdrawn after an AMI under close clinical supervision."; Source: McGill University