Drug May Cut Heart Attack Risk in Half

'Blockbuster' study could transform preventative care
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2008 8:06 PM CST
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(Newser) – A simple test and drug prescription can prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes, researchers say. Announced today at an American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans, the study of almost 18,000 volunteers in 26 nations confirmed that inflammation leads to heart disease—and can be counteracted by taking a cholesterol-lowering statin, the Washington Post reports.

"It's a breakthrough study," said one expert. "It's a blockbuster. It's absolutely paradigm-shifting." Researchers say middle-aged patients can easily take a $20 inflammation test and be prescribed the statin, which reduces heart attacks and strokes by about 50%. Some experts fear side-effects of the drug, but serious ones did not arise during the 2-year study.