Shalev and Chodick have just published a great study (see "Continuation of Statin Treatment and All-Cause Mortality
" in the Archive of Internal Medicine - 2009;169(3):260-268) that supports your mother’s good advice: medicine won’t work if you don’t take it.
They studied 230,000 men and women, average age 58, in an Israeli HMO, comparing how often prescriptions for statins were filled at the pharmacy and then followed them for four years in the primary prevention arm and five years in the secondary prevention arm of the study. (Primary prevention is a heart attack has not yet happened and secondary is a heart attack has occurred and they are trying to prevent the second).
The study looked for all-cause mortality.
The results are crystal clear: People who take their statins more than 90 percent of the days were half as likely to die as those who took their medications less than 10 percent of the time in both the primary and secondary arms of the study. Further, people who took their medications half of the time were 50 percent more likely to die than those who took their medications more than 90 percent of the time.
Some people worry about what statin they are taking. Perhaps they would be wiser to be certain that they actually take their prescribed pill every day.