Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More


Military and Veterans Discount



AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning Centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.


Heart Disease


Most Popular


Debate Over Statins Heats Up as Lipitor Heads Toward a Generic Form

Is a statin the answer to everyone's high cholesterol?

Today nearly 32 million Americans — one in four Americans age 45 and older — take statins, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

A lifetime of medication

Stanford's Hlatky says his concern about the JUPITER trial it that it only ran for about two years.

"Most people are not going to take the drug for two years and stop," he says. "They're going to take it for the rest of their natural lives." Statins can occasionally cause liver problems or a muscle-destroying condition called rhabdomyolysis, he points out. As the recent findings about the diabetes risk reveals, no one knows whether there might be other side effects after taking the drugs for 10 or 20 years.

Today nearly 32 million Americans — one in four Americans age 45 and older — take statins.

Hlatky says brand-new results from Britain's Heart Protection Study are "reassuring," because an 11-year follow-up of 20,536 patients found statin users were not at increased risk for cancer or death compared with those taking a placebo. They were also 23 percent less likely to have suffered a major heart-related event.

Stay tuned

An expert panel is currently updating the guidelines, says Michael Blaha, M.D., a research and clinical fellow at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. And, he says, "without a doubt" they're going to expand the number of people who should be on statins.

He supports the idea of using statins to prevent heart disease. If you wait until you've had your first heart attack, he asks, "haven't you waited too long?"

Also of interest: Dr. Oz: Can statins prevent high cholesterol?

Michael Haederle is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in People, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points