Number of patients on statins could double with new guidelines

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new guidelines that could double the number of Americans taking cholesterol-lowering statins, although some patients may no longer be considered candidates for the therapy. The guidelines suggest moving away from treating patients to achieve a specific LDL cholesterol level and advise that patients with certain risk factors for heart attack or stroke stay on statins regardless of cholesterol levels. Merck & Co.'s Vytorin and Zetia, which remain under patent protection, are not recommended under the new guidance.

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