The side effects of statin ads

Television advertising may drive over-diagnosis of high cholesterol and over-treatment with statins, according to a new study by Dr. Jeff Niederdeppe from Cornell University in the US and colleagues. It appears that a trip to the doctor enquiring about statins advertised on TV often leads to a prescription. The work appears online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer.

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, and high levels of LDL-cholesterol, or 'bad' cholesterol, are a major contributor. Statins have been proven to reduce LDL-cholesterol, but do they also have a role to play in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease? The jury is still out.

Statins are advertised on television with the aim of educating the population about health risks and encouraging people to seek medical advice, relevant diagnostic tests and appropriate treatment. Niederdeppe and colleagues explored whether exposure to direct-to-consumer advertising of statins was related to high cholesterol diagnosis and statin use among men and women at high, moderate, or low risk for future cardiac events.

The authors looked at how often 106,685 American adults were potentially exposed to direct-to- consumer advertising of statin drugs on national, cable and local television between 2001-2007. They also gathered data on whether participants reported being diagnosed with high cholesterol, whether or not they had taken a statin in the previous year, as well as their risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Their analyses suggest that those adults who had been exposed to statin ads were 16 to 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol, and 16 to 22 percent more likely to be using statins. Interestingly, the likelihood of both a diagnosis of high cholesterol and increased statin use was driven almost exclusively by men and women at low risk for future cardiac events. Conversely, those at high risk of heart disease exposed to statin ads on TV were not more likely to be taking a statin.

The authors conclude: "Our findings raise questions about the extent to which direct-to-consumer advertising may promote over-diagnosis and over-treatment for populations where risks may outweigh potential benefits. In addition, we found no evidence of favorable associations between exposure to statins in television advertisements and statin use among those at high risk for future cardiac events."

Niederdeppe J et al (2013). Direct-to-consumer television advertising exposure, diagnosis with high cholesterol, and statin use. Journal of General Internal Medicine; DOI 10.1007/s11606-013-2379-3

Most Popular Now

New analysis shows Novartis Entresto improves glyc…

Novartis has announced results of a new post-hoc analysis in a subgroup of patients with reduced ejection fraction heart failure (HFrEF) and diabetes suggesting that Entr...

Read more

Mutual Recognition promises new framework for phar…

The United States and the European Union (EU) completed an exchange of letters to amend the Pharmaceutical Annex to the 1998 U.S.-EU Mutual Recognition Agreement. Under t...

Read more

Potential drug candidates halt prostate and breast…

Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have designed two new drug candidates to target prostate and triple negative breast cancers. The...

Read more

Novartis' Cosentyx shows almost all psoriasis pati…

Novartis has announced a new analysis showing that moderate-to-severe psoriasis patients treated with Cosentyx® (secukinumab) rapidly regain clear or almost clear skin (P...

Read more

Scientists stimulate immune system, stop cancer gr…

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago report that increasing expression of a chemical cytokine called LIGHT in mice with colon cancer activated the immune ...

Read more

Johnson & Johnson completes acquisition of Abb…

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has completed the acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abbott. The all-cash $4.325 billion acquisition w...

Read more

New England Journal of Medicine publishes long-ter…

In 2001 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted priority review for imatinib mesylate, sold under the name Gleevec®*, as an oral therapy for patients with chronic m...

Read more

Bristol-Myers Squibb expands focus on precision me…

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) announced its equity investment and plans for a research collaboration with GRAIL Inc., a life sciences company whose mission is ...

Read more

Volkswagen's excess emissions will lead to 1,200 p…

In September 2015, the German Volkswagen Group, the world's largest car producer, admitted to having installed "defeat devices" in 11 million diesel cars sold worldwide b...

Read more

MedImmune and Sanofi Pasteur form alliance to deve…

MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, have announced an agreement to develop a...

Read more

Cooking at home tonight? It's likely cheaper and h…

Researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health have been peeking into kitchens - via interviews - for years now. They've just published results sho...

Read more

Human antibody for Zika virus promising for treatm…

Researchers have determined the structure of a human antibody bound to the Zika virus, revealing details about how the antibody interferes with the infection mechanism - ...

Read more

Pharmaceutical Companies

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Z ]