This site is intended for health professionals only

All over-50s "must get heart drugs"

A government health expert has said all men aged over 50 should be given cholesterol-busting drugs to reduce their risk of coronary heart disease.

Professor Roger Boyle said the "blanket approach" will save lives, money and NHS resources, but added the public is probably not ready for such a drastic move.

He also said that Whitehall officials are conscious of being criticised for creating a "nanny state" if they impose statins on certain groups.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published draft guidance back in June saying millions of people should be assessed to find out who could benefit from the drugs.

It added medical data may be collected to assess those who are most at risk of cardiovascular diseases, and then they could be given the treatments.

But Professor Boyle said determination of risk could be linked to an age threshold, and that could be set at 50 for men and 60 for women, or even 50 for men and 65 for women.

He said a "magic bullet" - which could combine medicines targeted at lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke - is being tested as a way forward in New Zealand.

But he added it will possibly be another 10 years before this is a suitable measure for people in the UK.


Professor Roger Boyle

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Take part in our three minute visitors' survey for the chance to win £25 worth of M&S vouchers!