A SENIOR Blackburn doctor said statins are ‘effective and useful’ in combating heart disease and stroke, but stopped short of calling for their use to be extended.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said the use of cholesterol-lowering statins should be extended to people with just a 10 per cent risk of developing heart disease.

But critics said key research has yet to be published and it was ‘no longer sufficient to make widespread extension of drug treatments on the basis of data that is not widely available for scrutiny’.

Dr Malcolm Ridgway, who practises at Witton Medical Centre, said: “My personal view based on my understanding of the evidence is that statins are very effective in secondary prevention, such as for heart disease and stroke, and are also useful in primary prevention if you are at high risk (greater than 20 per cent over ten years), particularly if you have a strong family history of cardiovascular disease.”