I was going to invest quite a bit of time examining and dissecting those shiny new statin prescription guidelines.
But that’s already been done, and wonderfully so, but Dr. Nancy Cook and Dr. Paul M. Ridker of Harvard Medical School already did so — over a year ago!
Now the guideline-makers are scrambling for credibility-cover, and trying to figure out how to claim the online “risk calculator” is still a fantastic tool even though it is terribly and obviously flawed.
Dr. Nissen entered the figures for a 60-year-old African-American man with no risk factors — total cholesterol of 150, HDL (the good cholesterol) of 45, systolic blood pressure of 125 — who was not a diabetic or a smoker. He ended up with a 10-year risk of 7.5 percent, meaning he should be taking cholesterol-lowering statins despite being in a seemingly low-risk group.
Dr. Nissen also calculated the figures for a healthy white man, age 60, and also got a risk factor of 7.5 percent.
“Something is terribly wrong,” Dr. Nissen said. Using the calculator’s results, he said, “your average healthy Joe gets treated, virtually every African-American man over 65 gets treated.”