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Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 2  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 51 - 57

Misperception among physicians and patients regarding the risks and benefits of statin treatment: the potential role of direct-to-consumer advertising

Rachel H. Kon, Mark W. Russo, Bridget Ory, Phil Mendys and Ross J. Simpson    



Statins are commonly used to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Despite the benefit and limited risks in properly identified patients, clinicians are often challenged by patient acceptance and adherence to these medications.


To assess if patients and physicians may have unfounded safety concerns about hepatotoxicity from these medications, we surveyed physicians and patients.


We found inconsistent liver function-monitoring practices as well as exaggerated fears of statin-induced hepatotoxicity. Patients who received risk information from their physician were more likely to accurately estimate hepatotoxic risk than patients receiving such information from other sources.


We believe these misperceptions about the relative risk and benefits of statin therapy are propagated by direct-to-consumer advertising, which may emphasize potential adverse events relative to treatment benefits. These perceptions are likely to adversely affect statin adherence, and may be addressed by patient education.

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