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Statins questioned for primary prevention in elderly

Statins questioned for primary prevention in elderly - Featured Image

People over 65 who start statin therapy for primary prevention may risk hastening their deaths, according to new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study findings are based on an analysis of a randomised trial of pravastatin that took place from 1994 to 2002. The researchers looked at a trial subset of nearly 3000 people over 65 who had no baseline atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease but had raised cholesterol. In this group, those randomised to pravastatin had similar rates of cardiovascular heart disease compared with those on usual treatment. Rates of stroke, heart failure and cancer were all about the same across the two groups as well. But more deaths were reported in the pravastatin group compared with usual treatment – 141 vs 130 in patients aged 65 to 74, and 92 vs 65 in those aged 75 and over. “No benefit was found when a statin was given for primary prevention to older adults. Treatment recommendations should be individualised for this population,” the authors write. They suggest that statins in this age group may trigger “untoward effects in the function or health of older adults that could offset any possible cardiovascular benefit”. They note that some studies…