Who should have drugs to lower cholesterol levels?
In people without kidney disease, statins are prescribed to those who have a risk of 30% (3 out of 10) or more of a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years. This includes anyone who has already had a heart attack or stroke; otherwise the risk is estimated from age, sex, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and whether the person has diabetes. Unfortunately, doctors don’t know for certain when to recommend statins to people with kidney disease. They have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people without kidney disease, but those with severe kidney disease (including transplants) were not included in any of the research. If someone has kidney disease, they are often asked to take many different drugs, so adding more should not be done without good reason. Statins can also interact with some of the drugs used to prevent kidney transplant rejection. Because of this uncertainty, doctors currently make different recommendations according to their point of