Nightly News   |  November 12, 2013

Statin treatments take on new, personalized approach

Doctors are now tailoring treatment to individual patients, taking into consideration multiple factors rather than simply relying on cholesterol levels. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> now back in this country,

and we're forced to say in light

of our lead story, we're a

country blessed with so much.

we turn to the medical news

tonight. it's about statins.

the cholesterol-lowering drugs

taken by millions of americans.

one in four over the age of 40.

today the first new guidelines

in a decade about how they

should be prescribed and the

news could be a game changer and

could result in many more

americans taking these drugs.

we start off our reporting

tonight with nbc 's stephanie

gosk.

>> Reporter: in the united

states, someone has a heart

attack every 34 seconds.

every four minutes, someone dies

from a stroke.

cardiovascular disease worsens

as plaque builds up in the

arteries.

up until now cholesterol levels

have largely dictated whether or

not a patient is prescribed

statins.

but now the guidelines change

that.

doctors will now tailor

treatment to individual

patients.

taking into consideration

multiple factors.

it's a more personalized

approach. >> i think doctors will

naturally find these guidelines

easy to use.

because the focus is not on the

number. it is on the right intensity of

therapy.

>> Reporter: the recommendations

include moderate or intensive

statin therapy for those with

cardiovascular disease .

those with ldl numbers higher,

and people with elevated risk of

determined by a newly developed

risk calculator.

some experts worry about relying

too heavily on statins.

>> even though the evidence

shows us in many situations

there's going to be short-term

benefit to taking statin

therapy, that in the long haul

it might actually inhibit us

from adopting and embrace

from adopting and embraing a

heart health yes lifestyle.

>> Reporter: stay healthy.

don't smoke and watch what you

eat hasn't changed.

stephanie gosk, nbc news, new

york.

>> so lots of questions tonight.

with us an internist and our

chief medical officer at nbc

universal.

all right, doc.

this story came out at 4:00

eastern today.

means starting when you leave

here tonight and go into

tomorrow, people are going toask you.

what do you say about people who

haven't been on these and those

who have been?

>> the guidelines are aren't

going to change patterns

overnight.

for the last ten years, thedoctors had the old ideas in our

head. it will take time to change,

some will meet the new

guidelines, some won't.

the bottom line when you go to

the doctor it will be a

different environment.

before they would pick your ldl,

match that to your risk factors ,

pick a magic number and take

medications to go after that

number. that's the part that's going to

change.

if you go to the doctor and meet

one of those four groups that

stephanie just mentioned,

they'll just go right ahead and

start you on a higher dose of

statin than before.

and you won't get it checked all

the time.

you'll still need your blood

checked to make sure you're

tolerating it, but you won't

have that magic goal number to

strive for. >> so the change coming for the

next doctor's visit next time

around for a lot of folks.

doctor, thank you as always forvisiting us tonight.