Study: Statins work as well for women as men

Doctors are more likely to give cholesterol drugs known as statins to men. But a new study, published in the Jan. 30 online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, shows statins, such as Lipitor, Lovastatin and Crestor, work just as well for women.

When it comes to statins, there have been some lingering questions about how effective they are on women. Medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips said most early clinical trials of medicines are done on males. But there is now enough research to draw conclusions for women.

The study reviewed 18 other trials and found that statins decreased the risk of heart disease, stroke and death by about 20 percent in both men and women.

Heart disease is often thought of as a disease for older men, but it's the No. 1 killer of both men and women. The disease kills more than 400,000 women a year -- more than the next three causes of death combined. But women are less likely to be treated aggressively for heart attacks in the ER or prescribed statins for the same risk factors as men.

"Women are less likely to be screened for high cholesterol, and they're 20 percent less likely to be treated with statins for the same numbers as men. ... (And) the medical establishment isn't taking women's complaints as seriously," Phillips said. "... So women need to be their own advocates."

For more on statins and how to advocate for yourself with a medical professional, click on the video in the player above.

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