About half of the patients prescribed statins do not see their cholesterol fall to desired levels within two years, suggests new research.
Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) are aimed at 40% or a reduction of low density lipoprotein cholesterol from the treatment.
A new study, published in the journal Heart, found that half of the people (51
The researchers from the University of Nottingham analyzed data from 165,411 patients prescribed for primary care statins between 1990 and 2016.
On average, they were 62 years of age when they started treatment.
A total of 84,609 patients had a "suboptimal" response after two years and did not record a 40% or greater reduction in cholesterol.
The researchers note that a higher proportion of patients with a "suboptimal" response were prescribed lower potency doses, co-patients with an "optimal" response.
Patients who did not reach the targeted levels were 22% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who responded well, the study found.
The researchers said the study provides "real world evidence" about statins.
"These findings contribute to the debate on the effectiveness of statin therapy and highlight the need for personal medicine in lipid management for patients," they wrote.
Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Statins are an important and proven treatment for lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke."
"Although this study suggests that not all prescribed statins succeed in reducing their cholesterol enough, it does not explain why.
" It may be that these people have been prescribed a low dose or static static statin, that they are I does not take the medicine as prescribed or that they do not respond well to the type of statins they have been prescribed.
"If you have written statins, you should continue to take them regularly, as prescribed.
" If you have any problems, discuss your medication with your doctor.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, president of the Royal College of GPs, said: "When we prescribe medication, we need to rely on patients to make sure they take it, both at the recommended dose and during the time that we think will come.
"There is a significant study showing that statins are safe and effective drugs for most people and can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke when appropriately prescribed – but the controversy remains around their widespread use and their possible side effects.
"There are complex reasons why patients choose not to take their prescribed medication and blending messaging around statins may be one of them."