I’ll have a statin with my cheeseburger, please!

mcdonalds

Very interesting article in American Journal of Cardiology: Can a Statin Neutralize the Cardiovascular Risk of Unhealthy Dietary Choices?

(Statins are a class of lipid lowering medications such as Atorvastatin aka Lipitor, Simvastatin aka Zocor)

The premise of the article and their statistical evidence is based on the fact that the risk heart disease increases by eating unhealthy fatty food. Since most people do not eat unhealthy food all the time, they should not need to take a statin every day (i.e. for primary prevention in a person with no prior history of heart disease or other risk factors). Can these people benefit from taking statin with each unhealthy meal?

It turns out that there may be some benefit to this approach.

To quote from the article:

"There is currently no evidence for the use of a single “one-off” dose of statin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, just as there may never be any evidence for the adverse mortality effect of eating a single cheeseburger. However, we argue that an unhealthy lifestyle is no more than the sum of a series of regular unhealthy choices.

For an individual who eats a cheeseburger once a year and thus takes a statin only once a year, the risk offset will be minimal. Individuals who have a more frequent habit of fast food consumption will have greater risk and greater opportunity to neutralize that risk. Importantly, even partial adherence to statin therapy conveys a mortality benefit, suggesting that statins do not need to be taken daily to have some protective effect."

(The authors do warn that the findings of this article does not mean that we should abandon eating healthy meals.)

Now can I have a Macstatin with my cheeseburger please :)