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Statin therapy 'benefits children'

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Children who take statins to lower their cholesterol experience long-term benefits, researchers have said.

A 10-year follow-up of children who have been taking statin therapy for an inherited cholesterol disorder showed the treatment - the most commonly prescribed medicine in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation - improves the child’s health.

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a prevalent inherited disorder which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

In children with FH, atherosclerosis progression is observed before puberty. Consequently, guidelines for FH treatment permit courses of statins in children as young as eight.

The study, by scientists in the Netherlands and published in the JAMA journal, included 214 children over a 10-year period.

All participants underwent a physical examination, fasted blood sample, assessment of family and medical history, including the occurrence of adverse events, and measurement of the thickness of an artery wall as a validated marker of atherosclerosis.

The authors, with the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, said: “More robust lipid-lowering therapy or earlier initiation of statins may be required to completely restore arterial wall morphology and avert cardiovascular events later in life in this high-risk population.”

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