Symphony Health Solutions study predicts 5% rise in statin prescriptions following new cholesterol guidelines

Most physicians foresee significant use of still-experimental biotech drugs for cholesterol

SAN MATEO, Calif. – The number of patients receiving prescriptions for statins is expected to increase modestly following new cholesterol recommendations from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, according to a new report.

The report, by Symphony Health Solutions, estimated a 5% increase in the total number of patients prescribed statins, even though many media reports have predicted a doubling in statin use. About 36 million Americans are taking prescription cholesterol-lowering drugs, mostly statins, according to the market research firm. The study was based on a survey last week of 150 primary care physicians and cardiologists in the United States, as well as 100 cardiologists in Europe.

Other findings include almost universal awareness of the guidelines among U.S. physicians, as well as very high awareness in Europe, and positive reactions from physicians, who have indicated they are already treating patients in accordance with them. But despite the small increase in statin prescriptions that's expected, physicians in the United States and Europe expect an increase of 55% to 60% in PCSK9 inhibitors, biotech drugs for treating cholesterol that are still in clinical trials, but have been found highly effective. At the same time, disagreement remains about the guidelines' 10-year cardiovascular risk algorithm, with one-third of primary care physicians in the United States saying the 10-year risk is overestimated and one-quarter saying it's underestimated.


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