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02-02-2012 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Statin therapy ‘equally effective’ in men and women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results of a meta-analysis show that statin therapy is associated with significant decreases in cardiovascular (CV) events in both women and men, suggesting that statin therapy should be used without regard to gender.

Writing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers explain that previous meta-analyses have implied that some of the benefits of statins do not pertain to women in primary prevention, and that all-cause mortality is not significantly decreased in women taking statins.

To investigate further, William Kostis (Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and team identified 18 randomized clinical trials of statins with gender-specific outcomes.

Overall, 141,235 patients, 21,468 primary events, and 13,710 deaths were included in the analysis.

Atorvastatin was used in four trials, lovastatin in one, pravastatin in six, rosuvastatin in three, and simvastatin in four. The mean relative dose in the intervention group was 98.2 mg and the mean follow-up was 48 months.

A statistically significant decrease in CV events was observed in women taking statins (odds ratio [OR]=0.81), as well as in men (OR=0.77), with a statistically similar lowering in both genders, compared with those not taking statins.

In both men and women, the benefit with respect to the primary CV event seemed more pronounced in secondary prevention trials than in primary prevention trials (OR=0.73 vs 0.79 and 0.78 vs 0.85, respectively).

Meta-analysis by level of CV risk indicated a statistically significant benefit of statin therapy at all levels of risk in both women (OR=0.88, 0.75, and 0.59 for high, medium, and low risk, respectively) and men (OR=0.87, 0.73, 0.61, respectively).

All-cause mortality was also lower with statin therapy in both men and women, without significant gender interactions.

"It seems that, with respect to statin therapy, what is good for the gander is good for the goose," remark Kostis et al. "Therefore, statin therapy should be used in appropriate patients without regard to sex."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Nikki Withers