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Statin benefit long-lasting

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Taking statins for a five year period significantly reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, even 10 years after stopping treatment, a major Scottish study has found.

Taking statins for a five year period significantly reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, even 10 years after stopping treatment, a major Scottish study has found.

The 15 year study involved 6,595 middle aged men with high cholesterol but who had not previously had an MI. Half were prescribed pravastatin and the remainder placebo.

Researchers said that 10 years after completion of the trial the risk of fatal or non-fatal MI was 10.3% in the placebo group and 8.6% in the statin group. Over the entire 15 years, the overall risk of fatal or non-fatal MI was 15.5% for placebo and 11.8% for pravastatin.

Lead researcher Ian Ford, professor of biostatistics at Glasgow University, said: 'We believe that this remarkable ongoing benefit is due to a stabilising of existing disease in the coronary arteries and significant slowing of further progression of disease.'

New England Journal of Medicine (2007) 357: 1477-1486

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