Pharmaceutical advertisements often highlight the benefits of a particular drug, including its ability to reduce the risk of various health conditions. However, the actual these drugs provide may differ from what is portrayed in the advertisements. It is the opinion of the author that if cardiologists and other providers told their patients the absolute of is 0.8% for all-cause mortality, 1.3% for myocardial infarction and 0.4% for stroke and the of going on a statin include dementia, worsening dementia, confusion, muscle problems, such as aches, pains, weakness, muscle breakdown, falls, , , diarrhea, and increase the risk of type 2 , would you or anyone else ever agree to take a statin?

Understanding Risk Reduction

First, it is essential to understand the concept of risk reduction. Risk reduction is typically expressed as a relative risk reduction (RRR) or an absolute risk reduction (ARR) to distinguish between actual risk reduction and the risk reduction often seen in advertisements.

  • Relative Risk Reduction (RRR): RRR compares the risk of an event occurring in the treatment group to the risk in the control group. It is expressed as a percentage and sometimes misleading, as it does not provide information about the actual risk reduction.
  • Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR): ARR represents the actual difference in risk between the treatment group and the control group. It is also expressed as a percentage and provides a more accurate measure of the drug's effectiveness.

Statins and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

are a class of drugs commonly used to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the actual risk reduction provided by statins may be smaller than often assumed. A meta-analysis of twenty-one randomized clinical trials involving 140,000 participants found that statins had an inconsistent and inconclusive impact on CVD outcomes such as myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and all-cause mortality. The researchers observed a relative risk reduction of 9% for all-cause mortality, 29% for MI, and 14% for stroke in those randomized to treatment with statins compared to the control group. However, the absolute risk reduction was only 0.8% for all-cause mortality, 1.3% for MI, and 0.4% for stroke.

The Difference Between Actual and Advertised Risk Reduction

Pharmaceutical advertisements often focus on the relative risk reduction of a drug, which can be misleading. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that people tend to overestimate the effect of an intervention when the results are expressed in relative terms. In the case of statins, the relative risk reduction may lead people to believe that the drug provides a larger benefit than it does. In contrast, the absolute risk reduction offers a more accurate measure of the drug's effectiveness. For example, a study published in the American Family Physician found that the absolute risk reduction for all-cause mortality with statin treatment was 0.6%, with a number needed to treat (NNT) of 167. This means that 167 patients would need to be treated with a statin for 4.1 years to prevent one death.

Dementia Risk and Statin Use

There's also an association between increased dementia risk and statin use. Other include, but are not limited to, worsening dementia, confusion, and muscle problems, such as aches, pains, weakness, muscle breakdown, falls, , , diarrhea, and increased risk of type 2 .


Pharmaceutical advertisements often emphasize relative risk estimates, making drugs seem more effective than they might be. Understanding relative and absolute risk reduction is crucial for informed decision-making regarding statins and other medications.


Long-term use of statins linked to heart disease and associated video Broken Science: Is Long-Term Statin Use Accelerating Heart Failure

Statins: Less CV Risk Reduction Than Commonly Assumed

Psychiatric Side Effects of Statins | An Interview with Beatrice Golomb (YouTube)

Absolute Benefits of Statins Cautioned Due To Significant Heterogeneity

Looking at the Benefit of Statins from a Different Perspective

Communicating the risk reduction achieved by cholesterol-reducing drugs

Have the benefits of statins been overstated?

Cholesterol drugs for people 75 and older: When you need them—and when you don't

Some statins may impair memory

The Great Cholesterol Scam and The Dangers of Statins

SHOCK STATIN study: Almost 50% who take them DO NOT need them (YouTube)

Statins and Dementia, BRAIN Health (YouTube)

Study Confirms What Many Patients Taking Statins Have Said for Years  (YouTube)

Statins Have Serious Health Risks: How To Get Off Them With Your Doctor? (YouTube)

Why is your doctor pushing statins on you? 6 reasons (YouTube)

Statins Cause Harm (YouTube)

10 Bad Things STATIN Drugs Do in Your Body (Statin Side Effects) (YouTube)

The Statin Controversy Unmasking (YouTube)

High LDL Cholesterol = Lower Risk of Death: NEW 22 Year Study (YouTube) => The study Is LDL cholesterol associated with long-term mortality among primary prevention adults? A retrospective cohort study from a large healthcare system

Doctors Are Switching From Statins To This (YouTube)

The Importance of Caregiver Journaling

Reporting Changes in Condition to Hospice

Eldercare Locator: a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources

Surviving Caregiving with Dignity, Love, and Kindness | Simplifying the Search for In-Home Care

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The amount generated from these “qualifying purchases” helps to maintain this site.

My Aging Parent Needs Help!: 7-Step Guide to Caregiving with No Regrets, More Compassion, and Going from Overwhelmed to Organized [Includes Tips for Caregiver Burnout]

Take Back Your Life: A Caregiver's Guide to Finding Freedom in the Midst of Overwhelm

The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring for Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself

Dear Caregiver, It's Your Life Too: 71 Self-Care Tips To Manage Stress, Avoid Burnout, And Find Joy Again While Caring For A Loved One

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

The Art of Dying

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

Providing Comfort During the Last Days of Life with Barbara Karnes RN (YouTube Video)

Preparing the patient, family, and caregivers for a “Good Death.”

Velocity of Changes in Condition as an Indicator of Approaching Death (often helpful to answer how soon? or when?)

The Dying Process and the End of Life

The Last Hours of Life

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The amount generated from these “qualifying purchases” helps to maintain this site.

Gone from My Sight: The Dying Experience

The Eleventh Hour: A Caring Guideline for the Hours to Minutes Before Death

By Your Side, A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home

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