Patients should be reassured GPs are highly-trained to prescribe statins, says RCGP in response to new BJGP research

Publication date: 24 October 2017

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study published in the BJGP today on statin prescribing.

She said: "Patients should be reassured that GPs are highly-trained to prescribe statins and base their decisions on the circumstances of the individual patient sitting in front of them, including physical, physiological and social factors that might be affecting their health.

This study is interesting because it looks at possible overtreatment and undertreatment, but it simplifies the true situation because it does not include any information about individual patient preferences, other health conditions, or data that was not accurately coded in patient records.

"This study emphasises the importance of calculating an accurate risk score which can then help healthcare professionals have an honest discussion with their patients about the benefits and risks which are unique to them.

"As with any drug, taking statin medication has potential side-effects, and taking any medication long-term is a substantial undertaking for patients who need to be monitored by healthcare professionals. Many don't want to take statins once they have learned all the facts – and GPs will respect patient choice.

"It's important that high-quality new research like this is always taken on board as guidelines for healthcare professionals are updated."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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