Continuing statin prescriptions after an adverse reaction was associated with a lower incidence of death and cardiovascular events. These findings may inform discussions between providers and patients about the risks and benefits of continuing statin therapy. The study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The mortality benefits of statins are well established, yet therapy is commonly discontinued possibly due to adverse reactions, or perceived adverse reactions. In fact, many reported adverse reactions are not actually caused by statins and patients who restart treatment can tolerate these drugs long term. It is not clear whether continued statin therapy after an adverse reaction provides the same benefits.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's hospital studied health records for 28,266 patients with a presumed adverse reaction to a statin between 2000 and 2001 to investigate the relationship between continued statin prescriptions during a 12-month period after a presumed adverse reaction and subsequent cardiovascular events or death from any cause. The researchers found that patients who continued to receive statin prescriptions had a 10 to 20 percent lower incidence of both cardiovascular events and death from any cause. However, the authors also noted that about 30 percent of patients did not receive statin prescriptions after a presumed adverse event.

According to the authors, these findings may help physicians engage in a balanced discussion about the benefits and risks of continuing statin therapy after an adverse reaction.