Statins can protect people from heart disease years after they stop taking them, a study has found.
Researchers at Glasgow University discovered that the drugs can reduce the risk of heart attacks by more than 25% in men.
And patients taking statins for five years still see the benefits 10 years later as they have a reduced risk of coronary disease, the investigators added.
The 15-year West of Scotland Coronary Prevention study looked at 6,595 local men with an average age of 55 who had high cholesterol.
They cohort was split in half, with one group given a placebo and the other receiving pravastatin.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined the same group 10 and 15 years later.
Lead author Professor Ian Ford said: “Remarkably, five years of treatment with a statin resulted in 27% fewer nonfatal heart attacks or deaths due to heart disease over the period of 15 years.
“There was a significant 12% reduction in deaths over the entire period, with deaths due to heart disease reduced by 22%.”
Professor Stuart Cobbe, the leading cardiologist on the study, added: “The benefit appeared to extend to at least 10 years after the original trial.”
Copyright © PA Business 2007