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22 August 2012
We know that statins - drugs commonly prescribed to help lower cholesterol levels - greatly reduce the risk of having a heart attack. But researchers at the University of Glasgow have found that they also have another benefit.
In a study including BHF Fellow Dr Paul Welsh, scientists discovered that people taking statins were at reduced risk of developing pancreatitis, a condition affecting the pancreas.
The scientists carried out a meta-analysis of previous studies, which means they crunched all the results together into one over-arching study. Using statistical techniques they were able to tease new findings from all the previous results.
Our Associate Medical Director, Professor Jeremy Pearson, said:
“This very reassuring study indicates that statin treatment does not increase the risk of pancreatitis, an often painful disorder of the pancreas. By analysing all the available data from clinical trials, the researchers actually found that statins almost certainly decrease the risk.
“It's one of several recent studies to underline the safety and effectiveness of statins in tackling high cholesterol, which leads to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).