(HealthDay News) — Nearly half of American adults who should be taking cholesterol-lowering drugs don’t, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC study team analyzed national data from 2005 to 2014 and found that 36.7% of U.S. adults — 78.1 million people aged 21 and older — were eligible to take cholesterol-lowering medications or were already taking them. Among these people, 55.5% were taking cholesterol-lowering medication, 46.6% were making lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol, 37.1% were taking medication and making lifestyle changes, and 35.5% were doing neither. The study included all types of cholesterol-lowering drugs, but nearly 90% of those on medication were taking a statin.

Of the 40.8% of men eligible for or already on cholesterol medication, 52.9% were taking them. Among women, the figures were 32.9 and 58.6%, respectively. Of the 24.2% of Mexican-Americans eligible for or already on cholesterol medication, 47.1 % were taking medications. The figures were 39.5 and 46.0%, respectively, among blacks, and 38.4 and 58.0%, respectively, among whites.

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The lowest rate of taking recommended cholesterol medication (5.7%) was among blacks who did not have a regular place for health care. The highest rate (80%) was among people who said they already adopted a heart-healthy lifestyle.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of Cholesterol Treatment Eligibility and Medication Use Among Adults — United States, 2005–2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Accessed December 3, 2015 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6447a1.htm?s_cid=mm6447a1_w