(HealthDay News) — Many individuals at high risk for cardiovascular events, such as those with coronary artery disease, diabetes, or both, are not receiving statins, according to research published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Michael Edward Johansen, MD, of The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues analyzed data for a nationally representative sample of 16,712 individuals in the United States, aged 30–79 years, to assess the association between statin use and cardiovascular risk. Those who reported filling two or more statin prescriptions were classified as statin users.

The researchers found that, overall, 58.2% of individuals with coronary artery disease (95% confidence interval [CI], 54.6–61.7 percent) and 52.0% of those with diabetes who were >40 years of age (95% CI, 49.4–54.6 percent) were statin users. After multivariable adjustment, the likelihood of being a statin user was significantly higher among individuals with both hyperlipidemia and coronary artery disease (odds ratio [OR], 0.44; 95% CI, 0.40–0.48) or hyperlipidemia only (OR, 0.32; 9% CI, 0.30–0.33) than among those with coronary artery disease only (OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.07–0.15). A similar pattern was observed among individuals with diabetes.

“Recently released guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association offer an opportunity to improve statin use by focusing on cardiovascular risk instead of lipid levels,” the authors write.

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