As Statins Soar, Use of Other Cholesterol Medicines Declines

Published: May 29, 2013

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Over the five years ending in 2012, there has been a gradual but important change in how doctors chose to treat patients at risk for heart disease who had high cholesterol. A group of cholesterol-lowering medicines called statins, already the most-prescribed drug category, saw their use climb 17% to more than 214 million monthly prescriptions annually, according to data provided by IMS Health, a consulting firm that can track drug prescriptions at the pharmacy level. Meanwhile, the use of other medicines to lower cholesterol and triglycerides or to raise HDL, the so-called ‘good cholesterol,’ fell 28% to 50 million prescriptions a year. When it comes to lowering cholesterol, doctors use statins, mostly available as cheap generics, and nothing else.

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