US doctors urge wider use of cholesterol drugs

Doctors are calling for a lot more Americans to consider taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol.

The guidelines -- the first in a decade for preventing heart attacks and strokes -- come from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Under the guidelines, one third of all adults should consider taking the drugs.

The new recommendations include a new formula for estimating a person's risk -- and it's a formula that includes many factors besides cholesterol, which is the main focus now.

The definition of high cholesterol isn't changing -- but the treatment goal is. Instead of aiming for a specific number, using whatever drugs get a patient there, the advice stresses statins like Lipitor and Zocor, and it identifies four groups of people they help the most.

Dr. Neil Stone of Northwestern University, who headed the cholesterol guideline panel, says, "We're going to give statins to those who are most likely to benefit."

Under the new advice, 33 million Americans -- 44 percent of men and 22 percent of women -- would meet the threshold to consider taking a statin.

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207-a-06-(Dr. George Dangas, professor Medicine, Cardiology, Mt. Sinai Hospital, in AP interview)-"the larger population"-Dr. George Dangas, who's a heart specialist, says new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology set a lower threshold for using medicines to reduce risk of heart attacks by taking into account age, health, sex, race, blood pressure and other factors. Updated: 11/12/2013-04:41:08 PM ET (12 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *207 (11/12/13)££ 00:06 "the larger population"

206-a-12-(Dr. George Dangas, professor Medicine, Cardiology, Mt. Sinai Hospital, in AP interview)-"reductions in mortality"-Dr. George Dangas, who's a heart specialist, says one-third of all adults should consider taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. (12 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *206 (11/12/13)££ 00:12 "reductions in mortality"

APPHOTO NY995: FILE - This undated photo provided by by Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., shows Atorvastatin Calcium tablets, a generic form of Lipitor, which is being sold under a deal with Pfizer. The nation's first new guidelines in a decade for preventing heart attacks and strokes call for twice as many Americans — one-third of all adults — to consider taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs such as this or Zocor or Crestor. The guidelines, issued Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, are a big change. They use a new formula for estimating someone's risk that includes many factors besides cholesterol, the main focus now. (AP Photo/Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bill Gallery) (15 Nov 2011)

<<APPHOTO NY995 (11/15/11)££

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