Statins could be more beneficial to men with heart disease than women, according to a new research analysis study about the benefits of the cholesterol-lowering drugs in men versus women.
WebMD reports that the review of studies which evaluated statins showed a reduction in death in men, but the same effect was not seen in women, causing the researchers to conclude that there is no particular benefit for women and the use of statins on stroke and mortality.
The study did show, however, that men and women who have had previous cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack, angina, or stroke, had a lower risk for a second heart attack if they took a cholesterol-lowering drug, meaning that, the drugs do have clear benefits for women with heart disease, though they may not help women with no previous issues with heart disease.
US News reports that Dr. Jose Gutierrez led the study with a team of researchers from the vascular neurology program at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. They worked to pool data on more than 43,000 participants from studies that were published before September 2010.
Each participant had a previous cardiovascular disease. Gutierrez noted that, “Statin therapy reduces the recurrence of cardiovascular events rate in both men and women. He went on to say:
“For women, the reduction in the recurrence rate of stroke and all-cause mortality is less robust than in men.”
They noted that for men, the drugs reduced the odds of suffering a new heart attack, stroke, or dying from any cause. For women, however, the only effect was a reduced risk of second heart attack. Before drawing conclusions, however, Gutierrez notes that there are several possible reasons for discrepancy, including the fact that women only made up one-fifth of study participants, and that the women had worse cardiovascular profiles, and fewer took daily asprin, even though they met criteria for it. Gutierrez went on to say:
“Other factors, such as differences in hormonal profiles or sex-specific characteristics, are not ruled out, but these issues cannot be addressed with the result of this meta-analysis.”
Other researchers agree, like Dr. Bruce Rutkin, a cardiologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., who believes that the study does not have sufficient evidence to show that stains are more or less effective for women versus men.