Patient Preference Distribution for Use of Statin Therapy

JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Mar 1;4(3):e210661. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0661.


Importance: Thresholds for initiating statin therapy should be informed by patients' preferences.

Objective: To define the preference distribution for statin therapy across the spectrum of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk after participants were informed about the benefits and harms of statin therapy.

Design, setting, and participants: A cross-sectional survey was conducted from May 13 to June 2, 2020. Participants included 304 individuals aged 40 to 75 years drawn from a nonprobability opt-in panel who had not taken a statin or proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitor in the past 3 years and knew the results of their total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and blood pressure measurements.

Exposures: Personalized 10-year CVD risk with and without statin therapy and potential harms of statins.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was self-reported preference for statin therapy.

Results: The 304 participants had a mean (SD) age of 54.8 (9.9) years; 152 were women (50.0%), 130 (42.8%) non-White, 50 (16.6%) had a high school degree or less education, and 153 (50.8%) reported never needing help reading health materials. When asked their preference for using statin therapy after reviewing their benefit and risk information, 45% of the participants reported they would definitely or probably choose statin therapy. As the risk increased, the proportion who would choose statin therapy generally increased (from 31.1% for a risk <5% to 82.6% for a risk >50%). The minimum risk threshold had to increase to 20% before 75% of respondents in that risk group would want statin therapy. For participants with a risk greater than 10%, the desire to use statin therapy decreased as participants' health literacy, subjective numeracy, and knowledge scores increased.

Conclusions and relevance: In this study, preferences for statin therapy for primary prevention of CVD appeared to vary across the spectrum of 10-year cardiovascular risk, but they were relatively flat at intermediate levels of risk. This preference distribution suggests a broad risk range for shared decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Preference / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors