Everyone over 50 should take cholesterol-lowering statins, regardless of their medical history, a leading heart expert has said.

British cardiovascular expert Professor Sir Roy Collins dismissed fears raised by U.S. and U.K regulators that the cholesterol lowering drug causes dangerous side effects such as memory loss, depression and sexual dysfunction, saying the benefits far outweigh any potential complications.

"There is an argument being made that if we start treatment earlier and continue for a longer time then the benefits will be much greater," Sir Rory said during a keynote address at the European Cardiology Congress in Munich on Tuesday, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"You are not trying to un-fur arteries, you are preventing them from furring in the first place."

"If you start at a younger age, then if you keep on with the treatment you may get more benefit than if you wait. I think the age of about 50 is the age to start thinking about it."

Statins cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by a third.

The news comes as pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is alleged to be considering a strategy to sell its cholesterol reducer-blockbuster drug, Lipitor, as an over-the-counter (OTC) pill.