The National Prescribing Centre has published MeReC Extra 52 (PDF) which discusses the results of the recently published SATURN study and recent safety warnings issued for citalopram, escitalopram and dabigatran.
The SATURN Study compared two high intensity statins in 1,385 patients with cardiovascular disease and assessed atherosclerotic plaque volume. At the end of the 2 year study there was no difference in this primary outcome with atorvastatin 80mg reducing plaque volume by 0.99% (95% CI −0.63 to -1.19) and rosuvastatin 40mg by 1.22% (95% CI -0.90 to -1.52). It is unknown whether this reduction in plaque volume would lead to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events. It is therefore suggested that clinicians continue to follow national guidance and use simvastatin 40mg for the majority of individuals here statin therapy is required.
The recently reported safety warnings regarding a dose dependent prolongation QT interval with citalopram and escitalopram and the new requirement to assess renal function before starting treatment with dabigatran and during therapy in some patients are also discussed.
Action: Clinicians who prescribe, or who see patients who are prescribed, any of these drugs will find this information useful and informative.