Application of pediatric guidelines would result in recommended statin treatment in people aged 17-21 years at a rate more than six times higher than under adult guidelines, according to Dr. Holly Gooding at Boston Children’s Hospital and her associates.

Of the 6,338 adolescents and young adults aged 17-21 years in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database, 2.5% would qualify for statin use according to 2011 pediatric guidelines, compared with only 0.4% under 2013 adult guidelines. Those who met the pediatric standard had lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels and higher triglyceride levels, but were more likely to be obese and smoke than those who met the adult standard. An estimated 483,500 would therefore qualify for statin use in the United States using pediatric criteria, compared with 78,200 using adult criteria.

“Given the current uncertain state of knowledge and conflicting guidelines for treatment of lipid levels among youth aged 17-21 years, physicians and patients should engage in shared decision making around the potential benefits, harms, and patient preferences for treatment,” the investigators recommended.Find the full study in JAMA Pediatrics ( doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0168 ).

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