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Thus, to prevent 23 coronary deaths (1.1%) it had been necessary to treat 2081 individuals for five years, which means that 90 patients were treated for each life saved.
In the WOSCOPS trial, which included only healthy individuals with a high cholesterol, the result was even less impressive.
These trials are therefore considered as a strong argument for the idea, that high cholesterol is dangerous.
Have these trials really demonstrated that raised LDL cholesterol has importance for coronary heart disease, as the trial directors concluded in the reports?
In the experiments, that have shown this fact beyond all doubt, cholesterol-lowering was performed by diet or by use of various older drugs such as clofibrate (Atromidin), gemfibrozil (Lopid), cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Lestid), and nicotinic acid (Nicangin).
Here, 61 died in the placebo group, 41 in the treatment group, a risk reduction of 0.6%.
To save these 20 lives it had been necessary to treat 3302 healthy individuals for five years, or 165 individuals for each life.
But the modern type of cholesterol-lowering drugs, the so-called statins (for instance Zocor, Lipitor and Pravachol) have been succesful.
For the first time cholesterol-lowering have shown significant improvement of mortality, both coronary mortality, stroke mortality and total mortality.
You could also say that the chance to avoid death from a heart attack for five years without cholesterol-lowering treatment is 98.2%.