September 26, 2012

Meta-Analysis Questions Whether Statins Prevent Blood Clots
in Healthy Adults

Oxford, United Kingdom—How beneficial are statins in preventing blood clots in healthy adults?

Just 3 years ago, additional analysis of data from the JUPITER (Justification for the Use of Statins in Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin) study reported that the statin rosuvastatin halved the risk of venous thromboembolic events among healthy adults. In that study, however, symptomatic venous thromboembolism occurred in only 94 participants—34 in the rosuvastatin group and 60 in the placebo group.

Now, a new report suggests that those results may have been too good to be too true, saying that statins may have little if any benefit in preventing thromboembolic events.

The international meta-analysis of 29 published and unpublished randomized controlled trials, appearing recently in PLOS Medicine, looked at the effects of statins on more than 100,000 participants and more than 1,000 thromboembolic events, either in the published reports or recorded as adverse events.

"The findings from this meta-analysis do not support the previous suggestion of a large protective effect of statins (or higher dose statins) on venous thromboembolic events," according to the authors. "However, a more moderate reduction in risk up to about one-fifth cannot be ruled out."

The study was led by researchers from the George Centre for Healthcare Innovation at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The combined analysis found that venous thrombosis occurred in 0.9% of people on statin therapy compared to 1% of a control group not taking statins. Excluding the findings of the JUPITER trial did not change the results.

In an accompanying Perspective article entitled "Statins and Venous Thrombosis: A Story Too Good to Be True?," Frits Rosendaal from the Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands suggests some conclusions can be drawn from the study. "Firstly, that for the association between statins and venous thrombosis, the methodologically strongest analysis shows at most a very small effect," Rosendaal writes. "Secondly, if we do not wish to discard the possibility of a beneficial effect for the whole class, any such effects are limited to rosuvastatin."

U.S. Pharmacist Social Connect