Should healthy people take Statins?
Prologue

The following is a hypothetical conversation between a pharmaceutical salesperson and a knowledgeable person:

Boy, do I have a great deal for you!.
  Whats the deal?
In next 10 years, ten people out of 100 in your group will get heart disease, and i'm going to fix that!
  How?
I'm going to sell each one of you an expensive pill that will solve all your problems!
  So no one will get sick?
Not quite... only seven people will get sick!
  So the pill will cure three people?
Not quite... They will probably get sick in the three years following the ten year period...
-  Well... so at least three people get to live a little longer?
Not really sure... Some of the studies don't show any associated increase in life span...
  So let me get this straight: you are going to give 100 people a pill, every day for 10 years, so that

  1. Ninety people who wouldn't get sick anyway, take the pill, even though it makes no difference to them?

    Y  e  s ...
  2. And seven people who would get sick anyway, take the pill, even though it makes no difference to them?

    Y  e   s ...
  3. Ninety seven people are unnecessarily taking a pill, so that a total of three people may have an additional 1-3 years till they get ill?

    Y  e   s ...
  4. And it costs an arm and a leg, and has some potentially nasty side effects, and has no significant impact on my longevity?

    Y  e   s ...

  Give me a break!!!



For a more detailed calculation of the impact of risk, please see our tutorial

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Last Modification - February 8, 2008