Patient concerns over statins 'understandable', but research shows drugs are safe and effective, says College

Publication date: 22 May 2018

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study out in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) today about patients' attitudes to taking statins.

She said: "It's understandable that patients have concerns about the benefits and risks of taking statins given the controversy that has surrounded them in the media, and the diverging views that exist around statins amongst healthcare professionals. But actually, there is high-quality, recent, research that demonstrates they are safe and effective drugs when prescribed and monitored appropriately, and that in most cases where adverse side effects are seen, these are reversible by stopping taking statins or switching to an alternative drug.

"GPs are highly trained to prescribe based on the individual circumstances of the patient in front of them, and a decision to prescribe statins will never be taken lightly. Patients certainly have the right to question whether statins are the best course of treatment for them – as they do with any medication they are prescribed – and this should be part of a conversation between doctor and patient about all the potential risks and benefits to their health and wellbeing.

"It is essential that patients who are prescribed statins, undertake regular medication reviews with a healthcare professional to determine whether or not they remain the best treatment option, based on their current circumstances."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

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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