"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." "Take an aspirin and call me in the morning." We're all familar with these sayings and it appears there will be another added shortly. If you had the opportunity to take a medication to help prevent heart disease would you take it?
Recently the FDA approved the added indication of heart disease prevention to a popular statin drug. There are 6.5 million people without cholesterol issues or heart problems that will be eligible for this preventative therapy. Some healthcare providers are questioning whether putting patients on this type of preventative therapy is worth it. Will patients be compliant with the laboratory tests that are necessary while they are on the medication? Will patients stick to a low fat, low cholesterol, heart healthy diet or will they see this as an opportunity to eat anything and everything they want? Will patients take the initiative to get off the sofa and exercise on a regular basis? What about the potential drug side effects? And the final question, can the patient afford this medication?
Regardless of where you stand on this issue one thing is clear, every patient must be evaluated for this type of preventative therapy on an individual basis. As healthcare providers we must make sure patients understand they need to follow through with other lifestyle changes needed to prevent this disease in addition to taking the medication. A pill a day won't keep heart disease away...on its own.