In addition, people between 40 and 75 years of age with an estimated 10-year risk of heart disease of 7.5 percent or more are advised to take a statin. Experts say this new rule could greatly alter the number of patients who will now be advised to take such a drug.
"We've come up with an approach that calls for treating about a third of adults between 40 and 75 years of age with statins for primary prevention," said Dr. David Goff, co-chair of the risk assessment working group for the guidelines and dean of the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado-Denver.
"I think it sounds about right," given that one out of three adults in America die from heart disease and stroke, Goff said.
The alleged problems with the calculator prompted at least one prominent cardiologist to tell the Times that implementation of the new cholesterol treatment guidelines should be delayed.
"It's stunning," Dr. Steven Nissen, chief of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told the newspaper. "We need a pause to further evaluate this approach before it is implemented on a widespread basis."
Dr. Sidney Smith, a cardiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a past AHA president, said that would not happen.
"We intend to move forward with these guidelines and develop effective strategies to implement them," Smith said.
For more on statins visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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