Statin makers, don't rush toward the pediatric market yet. Yesterday's recommendation that kids as young as 8 years old should take statins to prevent future heart problems--made by the prestigious and influential American Academy of Pediatrics--may have seemed tailor-made for a new indication for some of these drugs. But it triggered a furious backlash.
"Where are the data that show this is helpful preventing heart attacks?" one pediatric cardiologist asked. Answer: There is none. Nor is there data on the possible side effects of taking statins for four or five decades at a stretch. Plus, the critics pointed out, a drug recommendation would only distract from common-sense changes in diet and exercise, which, though part of the AAP's new guidelines, are much harder to carry out than drug treatment would be.
The docs on the committee that wrote the guidelines said there's plenty of safety data to justify them. "We extrapolate from the information we have in adults," one said. "There's really no reason to think that would be any different in children."
- read the New York Times story