Cholesterol guidelines may change Lipitor prescriptions

With recent breaking news on changes to cholesterol guidelines, there's no doubt that Lipitor users' ears have perked up.

With recent breaking news on changes to cholesterol guidelines, there's no doubt that Lipitor users' ears have perked up. However, a number of medical professionals have put up some debate against what has been referred to as the biggest update to the health condition in 25 years. So, let's take a look at what everyone is talking about:

It was just in August 2013 that a group of unpaid researchers unveiled 5 years of work during the American Heart Association's annual meeting. Unfortunately, the presentation unleashed even more questions. Critics of the committee felt as though strong data was ignored during the investigation, which could have led to other findings.

"This was a catastrophic misunderstanding of how you go about this sort of huge change in public policy," Dr. Steven Nissan, cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, told The New York Times.

The new guidelines
So, what exactly were these new guidelines? Researchers provided adjustments to the protocol for doctors to prescribe statins. Rather than focusing only on cholesterol numbers, risks for heart attack and stroke were taken into consideration. Therefore, individuals with cardiovascular disease, past instances of stroke or heart attack and other related conditions would be recommended statins. Additionally, anyone with with high LDL levels - numbers greater than 190 milligrams per deciliter - became included in the changes. Diabetics ages 40 to 75 and all people with a 7.5 percent chance or greater of having heart attack or stroke or suffering cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years would be given statins as well. This is a vast difference to which individuals currently qualify.

What patients should know
Those taking Lipitor to help with their cholesterol should be aware of the fact that the new guidelines for statins aren't as heavily focused on keeping these levels within a target range. Medications will now be prescribed based on whether or not they lower an individual's risk for heart attack and stroke, rather than decreasing cholesterol levels. Although, according to the new guidelines, it's still important to pay attention to one's cholesterol. Instead, someone who is at the greatest risk of heart disease will receive more vigorous treatments - regardless of whether or not his or her LDL is in bad shape. However, keep in mind that these two issues can go hand in hand. Moving forward, it is likely that doctors will continue to prescribe Lipitor and other drugs for lowering cholesterol that can be bought from Canadian pharmacies, in addition to statins that aim toward improving patients' risk for heart disease and stroke..