Millions of Americans Taking Daily Drugs May Not Need Them, Warns Major Study

Millions of Americans Taking Daily Drugs May Not Need Them, Warns Major Study
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A major study pub­lished in JAMA Inter­nal Med­i­cine has found that mil­lions of Amer­i­cans tak­ing pop­u­lar dai­ly drugs like statins may not actu­al­ly need them and could be putting them­selves at risk of nasty side effects.

The researchers used a new risk cal­cu­la­tor called PREVENT to esti­mate that 40% of peo­ple in the US tak­ing statins to pre­vent heart dis­ease won’t actu­al­ly devel­op the con­di­tion. That adds up to around 17 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, includ­ing 4 mil­lion cur­rent­ly tak­ing statins, who would no longer need the pills.

This could have huge impli­ca­tions for the $15 bil­lion statin indus­try, which is expect­ed to grow to $22 bil­lion by 2032. Statins have been linked to a host of side effects like headaches, mus­cle pain, liv­er dam­age, and issues with blood clotting.

How­ev­er, experts are warn­ing patients not to sud­den­ly stop tak­ing statins, as that could lead to dan­ger­ous side effects like heart attack and stroke. The Amer­i­can Heart Asso­ci­a­tion says new guide­lines may need to be devel­oped to incor­po­rate the PREVENT risk thresholds.

The find­ings high­light the impor­tance of eval­u­at­ing med­ica­tion needs care­ful­ly, as many Amer­i­cans may be tak­ing dai­ly drugs they sim­ply don’t require and expos­ing them­selves to poten­tial health risks in the process.

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