Statin treatment: a comparison between predicted and actual effects on inpatient care in Austria

Since the 1990s Statins have been increasingly applied for the secondary prevention of cardio-vascular diseases.

In clinical studies they have been shown to be effective. Compared to placebo a relative risk reduction with respect to major cardio-vascular events has been demonstrated. 
Apart from the clinical benefit, the considerably growing numbers of prescriptions warrant an economic analysis. It has been expected that the use of statins will reduce the number of cardio-vascular interventions (such as coronary artery bypass grafting) and, thus, will result in decreasing hospitalisation. This should eventually guarantee favourable cost-effectiveness results. The question to be answered first is whether there is empirical evidence to support this hypothesis.

Aim of the project

A systematic review of available economic evaluations was carried out in order to demonstrate the empirical evidence on the economic dimensions of statin treatment. A specific focus was on the estimated cost savings due to reductions of clinical interventions and hospitalisation.


The systematic review provided an overview on economic evaluations and economic models which have been published so far. The review was restricted to studies which focus on secondary prevention of cardio-vascular diseases. A synthesis of study results was carried out in order to obtain an overall picture of the estimated efficiency. Presentation of the data took into account that the results will be used for application to the Austrian context in a following project.



  • Zechmeister, I. (2006). Verhindern Cholesterinsenker auch Folgeinterventionen und damit Kosten? Eine Studie prüft nach. Ita-Newsletter, 3-4. Retrieved from
  • Zechmeister, I., & Wild, C. (2006). Einsatz von Statinen zur Sekundärprävention von Kardio-vaskulären Erkrankungen. Ein systematischer Review gesundheitsökonomischer Analysen (Endbericht). doi:/10.1553/ITA-pb-b30
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08/2005 - 03/2006