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Statins prevent many heart deaths

Cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, have changed the face of heart treatment by preventing life-threatening heart conditions, according to experts.

New figures released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) show drugs that help regulate the levels of cholesterol are being prescribed to more than one million people a week.

More than 52 million prescriptions for the lipid-lowering drugs - the majority of which are statins - are written in England each year.

Statins as life-saving drugs have become a mainstay for doctors treating serious heart conditions, with an estimated seven million people across the UK now banking on them to control their cholesterol levels.

The figures clearly show that statin prescriptions have reached record levels over the past three decades despite its side effects, including headaches, muscle pain, diarrhoea and nausea.

"They've undoubtedly changed the face of heart disease treatment for the better and prevented many heart attacks and strokes," said Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

British Heart Foundation