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A genetic test could help the portion of people who experience muscle pain while taking statins avoid that complication, according to New Scientist. Some of that pain, though not all, has been traced to a gene variant, it notes.

Researchers from Duke University divided a cohort of people who'd reported such pain in two. Both groups underwent genetic testing, but only one was told its results. People told their results whose genetic makeup indicated that they were at genetic risk of statin-related pain were told they might do better on certain statin. Those with no genetic risk were told to choose any statin. The other group was given standard advice.

New Scientist reports that more than half the people told their genetic risk began taking statins again, while only a third given generic advice did. After a few months, those told their genetic risk had lower blood LDL cholesterol levels, it adds.

This suggested to the researchers that testing changed how patients viewed statins. "This concept of using precision medicine to address the psychology of how patients feel about drugs might be a winning combination," Duke's Deepak Voora tells New Scientist.