Comment: Viewing Catalyst’s cholesterol programs through the sceptometer

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This was a comment to the online article, “Viewing Catalyst’s cholesterol programs through the sceptometer“, written by Dr Justin Coleman, published on The Conversation on 4 November 2013.  This was an interesting perspective offered by a clinical general practitioner following the rather problematic Catalyst program on cholesterol and statins.

Great article Justin!

I agree with most of your points, but as per Prof Clifton’s comment, the accumulated evidence has moved on somewhat from the meta-analysis from 2010. Newer systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the question of the effectiveness of statins in primary prevention have generally found some mortality and cardiovascular benefit. For instance, in a short piece for Medical Observer published last Friday, I looked at a meta-analysis from 2011 specifically in patients at low absolute CVD risk: http://vitualis.com/?p=505 Effectively, the magnitude of the effect is about the same as that found in the Ray et al. (2010) meta-analysis, but with narrower confidence intervals that no longer includes no-effect. Prof Clifton already quotes the 2013 update of the Cochrane systematic review which demonstrates a similar result. Continue reading

Absolute cardiovascular disease risk assessment and early intervention

This revised lecture was first given to medical students in the Phase 2: Society and Health term on 5 March 2012, at the University of New South Wales.