The studies found that taking statins did not significantly cut women’s risk of stroke
Statins have been hailed as the ‘magic bullet’ preventing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke. They’ve been prescribed for the past 20 years to successfully control cholesterol levels but new research indicates that they may not be as ‘magical’ for women as they are for men.
Analysing 11 studies involving nearly 45,000 participants, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center set out to assess whether there was any difference between the genders in terms of how they responded to statins. They found that statin use did indeed reduce the risk of recurrent heart attacks and strokes, but when they compared the results taking gender into account, they found that taking statins did not significantly cut women’s risk of stroke.
The researchers are quick to point out, however, that fewer women enrol in cardiovascular prevention clinical trials and so the results may not accurately reflect reality. Because of this, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) warned against drawing conclusions based on this new information alone. “This study is limited because it only looked at a small number of women who had strokes,” says Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the BHF. “Women made up just a fifth of the sample size.”