Some Physicians Tend to Undertreat With Statins

(HealthDay News) — Some clinical departments tend to undertreat when prescribing statins, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Hun-Sung Kim, MD, PhD, from the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, and colleagues examined the department-specific disparities and achievement rates for LDL cholesterol targets based on each department’s prescription patterns for 31 718 patients who had been prescribed a statin. 

Based on the National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines, patients were classified into high-risk (target LDL cholesterol <100 mg/dL) and moderate-risk (target LDL cholesterol <130 mg/dL) groups.

The researchers found that statins were most commonly prescribed in cardiology and endocrinology departments (32% and 26.6%, respectively). Target LDL cholesterol levels were achieved by 70% of high-risk patients in the cardiology, endocrinology, and cardiac surgery departments, while 79.2% of the moderate-risk group achieved target levels. 

In most other departments, the target achievement rates were below 70% for high-risk patients. The likelihood of achieving target LDL cholesterol levels was higher for departments that prescribed a greater number of high- or intermediate-potency statins. There was a significant positive relationship for the group that achieved their target LDL cholesterol levels, from low to high potency.

“To reach the target LDL cholesterol levels, physicians must overcome their tendency to undertreat with statins,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Kim H-S, Kim H, Lee H, et al. Analysis and comparison of statin prescription patterns and outcomes according to clinical department. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2016;41(1):70-77. doi:10.1111/jcpt.12350.