Differences in Patient Beliefs May Play Role in Women’s Underuse of Statins

September 18, 2019 – Recently published results explore reasons behind the well-documented phenomenon of gendered differences in statin use.

Women are less likely than men to receive statins, and those who do receive statins are more likely to receive a prescription below recommended guidelines.

DCRI fellow Michael Nanna, MD (pictured), examined patient data from the PALM (Patient and Provider Assessment of Lipid Management) Registry in an effort to ascertain reasons for these differences. He and his team found that women are offered statins at lower rates but refuse or discontinue statins at higher rates than men.

A paper discussing the findings was recently published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Nanna and his colleagues also presented findings at the 2018 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

“We were able to identify some key differences in terms of patient beliefs and perceptions around statins, as well as willingness to try statins,” Nanna said. “Female patients were less likely to believe statins were safe and less likely to believe they were effective. In addition, female patients who had previously been on a statin were less willing to try another statin compared to male patients. These differences in beliefs suggest that providers can do more to educate their patients on the safety and efficacy of statins.”

Other DCRI contributors to this study include Tracy Wang, MD, MHS, MSc; Eric Peterson, MD; Ann Marie Navar, MD, PhD; Zhoukai Li and Qun Xiang (formerly of DCRI).