The number of statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs given to patients has trebled in the last decade, new figures show.
In 2003 there were 22.7 million statins and other drugs that lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes dispensed in communities across England.
“This reflects the efforts that have been made to better identify people at high risk of developing CVD”
By 2013 this figure had risen to 66.8 million, according to data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
In addition, between 2012 and 2013 the number of statins dished out to patients increased by 3.7%.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The prescription of cholesterol lowering medications has been increasing steadily for many years now.
“This reflects the efforts that have been made to better identify people at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease through initiatives such as the NHS Health Checks programme,” she said.
“Statins are one of the most studied medicines available today,” she said. “They have been proven to be safe and effective and are vital in helping reduce people’s risk of heart attack and stroke.”
The HSCIC figures show that overall the number of prescription items dispensed in the community has increased by 58.5% since 2003.
Over 1.03 billion items were prescribed in 2013 compared with 649.7 million in 2003, a spokeswoman said.