Government and Regulations

Cholesterol Medications—Who Isn’t Taking Them?

Research from the CDC finds half of Americans who should be taking cholesterol medications are not.


According to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, nearly half of American adults who could be taking cholesterol-lowering medicines are not. CDC researchers examined data from the 2005-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and found that 78 million people aged 21 or older (37% of American adults) were eligible for cholesterol-lowering medication or already taking it. Of those, 56% were taking medication, 47% were making lifestyle changes, 37% were doing both, and 36% were doing neither.

Black adults who did not have a routine place for health care were found least likely to be taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. However, the CDC study also found that black men have a lower prevalence of high cholesterol compared with whites and Hispanics.

Although the study included all forms of cholesterol-lowering medications, nearly 90% of patients were taking statins.

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