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Wrongly prescribed statins put millions at risk

Author: Laura Armstrong

Researchers at Imperial College London have recently revealed that up to 6 million patients in the UK are being given the wrong prescription for statins.

Millions of people in the UK rely on statins to lower their cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Imperial College London have reviewed the prescriptions being received by 184,000 patients and compared these to the national guidelines on the prescription of statins. Worryingly, only 6% of patients with heart disease were being prescribed the correct dosage of statins and 1 in 5 people who should have been taking statins were not being prescribed them at all.

The researchers have estimated that 6 million people may not be receiving the right medication for their condition and described this as a public health priority.

It is thought that the errors could be due to recent changes in NHS guidelines in 2014 which mean that doctors should now prescribe statins to anyone with a 10% or greater risk of suffering a heart attack within a decade. Previous guidelines meant only patients with a 30% or greater risk were prescribed statins.

It is thought that GP’s may not be correctly following the new guidance and leaving patients on out-dated prescriptions, resulting in patients not being prescribed statins or being prescribed too low a dose. The risk of patients suffering an avoidable stroke or heart attack as a result of incorrect prescriptions is very concerning.

Although the risk is real, patients are being urged not to immediately seek medical attention and instead to wait until their next GP appointment to review their medication needs, in order to avoid placing additional strain on already stretched GP services.

If you have any concerns about care provided to either you or a family member by your GP, or in any clinical setting, and would like advice about the possibility of making a claim then please contact us.



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