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August 9, 2010 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
As the world's most-prescribed class of medications, statins indisputably qualify for the commercial distinction of "blockbuster. " About 24 million Americans take the drugs — marketed under such commercial names as Pravachol, Mevacor, Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor — largely to stave off heart attacks and strokes. At the zenith of their profitability, these medications raked in $26.2 billion a year for their manufacturers. The introduction in recent years of cheaper generic versions may have begun to cut into sales revenues for the brand-name drugs that came first to the market, but better prices have only fueled the medications' use: In 2009, U.S. patients filled 201.4 million prescriptions for statins, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription drug trends.
January 8, 2007 | From Times wire reports
Lipitor, Zocor and similar cholesterol lowering drugs failed to prevent colon cancer in a study, dimming hope the pills taken by millions of Americans could thwart one of the nation's leading killers. Laboratory and animal research has suggested in the past that the drugs, called statins, may have anti-cancer properties, blocking compounds the damaged cells need to grow and spread. Studies in people, though, have yielded mixed results.
April 16, 2007 | From Times wire reports
People who use statin drugs are less likely to die of influenza and chronic bronchitis, according to research that shows yet another unexpected benefit of the cholesterol-lowering medications. The study of more than 76,000 people showed that those who had taken statins for at least 90 days had a much lower risk of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, the technical name for emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
September 24, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A consumer group and 35 doctors and scientists asked the National Institutes of Health to oversee an independent review of the science that led to new guidelines urging wider use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the doctors and scientists said in a letter to NIH that there wasn't enough evidence to justify the recommendations, especially for women, older people and diabetics.
March 30, 2009 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
Statin drugs, taken to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, also can cut the risk of developing dangerous blood clots that can lodge in the legs or lungs, a major study suggests. The results provide a new reason to consider taking these medicines, sold as Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor and in generic form, doctors say. In the study, Crestor cut nearly in half the risk of blood clots in people with low cholesterol but who tested high for inflammation. The same study last fall showed that Crestor dramatically reduced heart attacks, strokes and risk of death in these people.
August 25, 2003 | Jane E. Allen, Times Staff Writer
Patients who need help reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke now have one more cholesterol-lowering drug from which to choose. Like other statins, Crestor (rosuvastatin) partially blocks the production of cholesterol in the liver. It lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol. It also reduces triglycerides, another blood fat associated with the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
June 13, 2003 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins can reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics by a quarter to a third, even in patients who do not have high cholesterol levels, according to a major new British study. Giving the drugs to the 17 million Americans with diabetes could prevent as many as 170,000 heart attacks and strokes each year, researchers said. Worldwide, the drugs could prevent more than 1 million such events each year, they added.
January 11, 2005
Studies See New Way to Reduce Heart Risk," Jan. 6: Well, it seems we have a new wonder drug -- the statins. According to the Jan. 6 story, "Studies See New Way to Reduce Heart Risk," two recent medical journal articles found that statins are a "perfect marriage" between a drug and a disease. We are on the verge of a major breakthrough in heart disease. Lives will be saved as the use of these already prevalent drugs skyrocket. I sincerely hope the authors of these articles are correct.
The blood thinner warfarin recently was found to help ward off cancer in people treated for blood clots. The same week, three studies suggested that popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may somehow reduce the risk of broken bones. Huh? This sort of pharmaceutical serendipity is increasingly common: A drug approved for one use is found, by accident or design, to have other intriguing effects. It's distracting to health consumers already teetering on the risk-benefit balance beam.
May 24, 2004 | Jane E. Allen
Statins, the prescription drugs used by millions of Americans to reduce cholesterol levels, are showing early promise as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease that affects about 1.5 million people worldwide, attacks the myelin sheaths around nerves of the brain, eyes and spinal cord. The formation of scar tissue or lesions can lead to such symptoms as blurry vision, numbness, loss of balance and fatigue.
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