New research supports statin prescribing in patients over 75 years

Evidence suggesting a mortality benefit of statins 'at all ages over 65 years' supports use of the drugs in older people, say researchers.

Current guidelines are cautious about recommending statin therapy to people aged 75 years or older. | GETTY IMAGES
Current guidelines are cautious about recommending statin therapy to people aged 75 years or older. | GETTY IMAGES

Statins showed a 'consistent mortality reduction' from the age of 65 onwards, in a retrospective cohort study published in Family Medicine and Community Health.

Previously there has been uncertainty about the benefits of statin therapy in older people, particularly those aged 75 years or older who do not have a history of cardiovascular disease.

Mortality reduction

The current study used primary care records from The Health Improvement Network database for England and Wales. Data were analysed for 110,243 patients who turned 60 between 1990 and 2000 and had no previous cardiovascular disease or statin prescription. Participants were followed up until 2017.

The researchers found that current statin prescription was associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality from age 65 onward, with greater reductions seen at older ages.

The adjusted hazard ratio of mortality associated with statin prescription was 0.76 (95% CI 0.71 to 0.81) at age 65, 0.68 (95% CI 0.65 to 0.72) at age 75, and 0.54 (95% CI 0.33 to 0.92) at age 85. Adjusted hazard ratios did not vary by sex or cardiac risk.

The consistent mortality benefit of statins from age 65 years onward 'supports the use of statins, where clinically indicated and after discussion of the potential risks and benefits with the patient, in those aged over 75 years,' the authors concluded.

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