News Picture: U.S. Women Less Likely Than Men to Get Statins After Heart Attack

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MONDAY, April 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Women who survive a heart attack are less likely than men to receive cholesterol-lowering statin drugs that can reduce the risk of another heart attack or stroke, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 88,000 U.S. adults who filled a statin prescription after a heart attack in 2014-2015. Of those, 56 percent of men and 47 percent of women picked up a high-intensity statin drug.

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“Prior studies have found that women are less likely than men to receive treatment with statins following a heart attack. Our study shows that even when women are prescribed statins, these continue to be in lower intensities than the guidelines recommend,” said study leader Sanne Peters.

Peters is a research fellow in epidemiology at Oxford University’s George Institute in the United Kingdom.

“The discrepancies in high-intensity statin use may explain, at least in part, why [death] rates for women with a history of heart disease and stroke are higher than for men. Our research suggests some deaths could be prevented if the guidelines on treatment with high-intensity statins were adhered to,” she said in an institute news release.

The findings suggest efforts in recent years to close gender gaps in the use of recommended treatments after a heart attack have failed, according to the researchers.

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Peters said the disparity was largest among the youngest and oldest adults, and for those without other known health problems.

Women’s lower use of high-intensity statins was unrelated to age or to them having a higher number of other health conditions, the findings showed.

“We need further research to understand the barriers to guideline-recommended treatment in women,” Peters said.

“There is clearly more work to be done to raise awareness of the benefits of high-intensity statins for both women and men who have experienced heart attacks, in order to eliminate these disparities,” she concluded.

— Robert Preidt

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