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New paper questions efficacy of common heart attack treatment

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

It is widely believed that diabetic patients who have received unhealthy cholesterol tests should be started on a combination of medications that includes statins and fibrates. This is thought to reduce the risk of heart attack among this high-risk group.

However, a new editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine questions the effectiveness of this approach. The researchers say that there is actually little evidence to support the use of statin and fibrates to reduce heart attack risk.

"Thousands and thousands of Americans take fibrates every day but so far, there are no long-term studies showing that fibrates lower cardiovascular risk or improve survival among diabetes patients who are also on statins," said Sanjay Kaul, a Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute physician who co-authored the paper.

While the authors stop short of saying that doctors should no longer prescribe the combination of statins and fibrates, they do suggest that more clinical trials be conducted to assess whether or not there is any actual benefit to the therapy. The paper suggests only prescribing the treatment for patients who are at the highest risk of heart attack.

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