Experts Reshape Treatment Guide for Cholesterol

by Rachel Baker on November 13, 2013

New Guidelines have been released that will reshape how doctors prescribe cholesterol-lowering statin medications.

Editor’s Note: See your doctor before you decide to go off any medications.

The nation’s leading heart organizations released new guidelines on Tuesday that will fundamentally reshape the use of cholesterol-lowering statin medicines, which are now prescribed for a quarter of Americans over 40. Patients on statins will no longer need to lower their cholesterol levels to specific numerical targets monitored by regular blood tests, as has been recommended for decades. Simply taking the right dose of a statin will be sufficient, the guidelines say.

The new approach divides people needing treatment into two broad risk categories. Those at high risk because, for example, they have diabetes or have had a heart attack should take a statin except in rare cases. People with extremely high levels of the harmful cholesterol known as LDL — 190 or higher — should also be prescribed statins. In the past, people in these categories would also have been told to get their LDL down to 70, something no longer required.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/health/new-guidelines-redefine-use-of-statins.html

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