Heart and stroke risk: a catalyst for conversation

14 February 2014

NPS MedicineWise is reminding health professionals and the general public that the cholesterol-lowing medicines statins remain one of the most effective strategies for reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Clinical adviser at NPS MedicineWise, Dr Andrew Boyden, says that while cardiovascular disease is largely preventable it is still the most common cause of death in Australia.

“We know that all medicines have their own risks, benefits and side effects, but we also know it’s very clear that people at high risk of a heart attack or stroke can benefit substantially from statins in terms of reducing risk,” he says.

A new publication, Medicinewise News — Heart and stroke risk: a catalyst for conversation, has been distributed this month to 65,000 doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals around Australia.

It examines the latest evidence about cardiovascular disease and treatment options including statins.

The mailout to health professionals also includes a Statins – Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet for patients. An expanded version of the fact sheet is available online.

The fact sheet and online resource consider questions from how a statin medicine can help and who should be prescribed them, to the side effects statins can cause and what the evidence is behind their use.

“NPS MedicineWise is working closely with doctors and other health professionals to make sure they are up to date with the latest evidence and guidelines, and to ensure they’re working in partnership with patients to manage their risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Dr Boyden.

“We urge anyone with any questions or concerns about taking statins to read our information, and then talk to their doctor to make a shared decision about whether statins are right for them.”

To read or to print the Statins – Frequently Asked Questions resource for patients, go to www.nps.org.au/statins-faq

For more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a health professional, individuals can call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) .

Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

If you are a journalist seeking comment on a story or more information on any of our programs or campaigns please contact one of our media advisers: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667 or Erin Jardine on 02 8217 8733 (during office hours) or call the NPS MedicineWise media phone on 0419 618 365 (for urgent media requests outside of office hours). If your enquiry is not urgent you can also send us an email.