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Cholesterol and coronavirus

Information for GPs and prescribers on how best to manage cholesterol and lipid conditions post pandemic

Steps for managing cholesterol conditions

For health professionals responsible for assessing and treating cholesterol conditions, HEART UK encourage the following steps:

1.       Patients with suspected familial hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol in the absence of secondary causes, and with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease/who meet diagnostic criteria for clinical FH) should be started on a statin as recommended by NICE Guidance CG71. The recommended minimum for most individuals who are otherwise healthy would be 20mg of Atorvastatin OD.  


2.       Patients due to have a follow-up cholesterol test after making lifestyle changes should continue with lifestyle changes unless their most recent result met the criteria for familial hypercholesterolaemia screening. These patients would usually be advised to receive 20mg of Atorvastatin OD.

Healthcare professionals can refer to the Summary of National Guidance for Lipid Management for Primary and Secondary Prevention of CVD 

3.       Patients who are symptom-free and due to have a follow-up cholesterol test after starting statins may have to have their appointment deferred depending on the capacity of your service, but should continue their medication.  Ideally a blood test to check lipids and LFTs should be carried out within 3 months, as per NICE Guidance


4.       Patients experiencing side effects should be offered a face to face or telephone appointment to review their symptoms, their dose and/or type of statin.   

Health care professionals can now refer to the statin intolerance pathway for further information

Prescribing statins

It's important to note that statins not only lower levels of LDL cholesterol, but can also help to stabilise plaque in the arteries.

Delaying prescriptions may negatively impact patients by increasing their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Coronavirus protocols for specific treatments

We would like to thank Dr Handrean Soran, Kirsty Nicholson and their team at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust for producing these protocols to adapt treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may need to adapt these protocols as appropriate for your own hospital Trust. If you download and use these files, we ask that you remove the Manchester logo and the individual names and add your own.

Lipoprotein apheresis protocol

Lomitapide protocol

PCSK9i protocol

Volanesorsen protocol

See our Statement of Care for patients with COVID-19