Switching statins: what are the issues and implications?

Br J Cardiol 2006;13(Suppl 1):S3-S12 Leave a comment
Click any image to enlarge
Sponsorship Statement: This is a sponsored supplement to The British Journal of Cardiology. Details of sponsorship can be found by downloading the PDF.

Highlight report of a round table meeting held at the Royal College of Physicians, London

There is increased pressure and incentive for Primary Care Trusts to ask general practitioners to prescribe generic statins and switch patients from branded statins. Whilst this seems attractive in an increasingly cost-aware NHS, there are many issues and implications involved in switching statins that are not always fully considered. With statins playing such a vital role in reducing mortality and morbidity in cardiovascular disease, switching to a cheaper statin can seem a good option. However, cost does not always reflect cost-effectiveness.

A round table meeting was recently convened by The British Journal of Cardiology to discuss these issues. The expert panel considered the differences between statins and their safety and efficacy, which patients are suitable for switching, the follow-up needed, the costs to the practice in making a switch, and how patients can be involved in this process and their concordance optimised. The panel looked at the implications of switching patients in relation to both current and anticipated future guidelines for cholesterol targets and the Quality and Outcomes Framework, and at organisational changes taking place in general practice in relation to prescribing.

This supplement is a summary of the presentations made during the meeting and the lively round table discussion. We hope it will help primary care teams weigh up the evidence and think carefully about all the considerations around this issue.

Disclaimer: UK prescribing information current at the date of publication of this supplement can be found by downloading the PDF. Medinews Cardiology Limited advises healthcare professionals to consult up-to-date Prescribing Information and the full Summary of Product Characteristics available from the manufacturers before prescribing any product. Medinews Cardiology Limited cannot accept responsibility for any errors in prescribing which may occur.