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Risks for elderly of stopping statins

Wednesday July 31st, 2019

Coming off statins at the age of 75 can significantly raise the risk of cardiovascular events, researchers warn today.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, examined the role of statins in prevention of cardiovascular disease at this age.

Dr Philippe Giral of Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, France, and colleagues analysed population statistics from French national health care databases, looking at everyone who turned 75 in 2012 to 2014. These 120,173 individuals had no history of cardiovascular disease and were taking statin medication in the previous two years.

Outcomes were measured in the 17,204 people who discontinued statins. The risk of a cardiovascular event was 33% higher for this group than those who stayed on the medication. The risk of a coronary event was even higher, an increase of 46%. The risk of a cerebrovascular event was 26% higher, and the risk of ‘other vascular event’ was 2% higher.

The authors write: “Future studies, including randomized studies, are needed to confirm these findings and support updating and clarification of guidelines on the use of statins for primary prevention in the elderly.”

Dr Giral says: “We estimated that an extra 2.5 cardiovascular events per 100 people would occur within four years among those who discontinued their statins at the age of 75 years compared to those who continued taking their statins.”

Co-author Professor Joel Coste added: “While we wait for results from randomised controlled trials, carefully conducted observational studies such as this can provide useful information for doctors and patients - and can contribute to establishing more precise guidelines on the use of statins for primary prevention in the elderly.”

Giral, P. et al. Cardiovascular effect of discontinuing statins for primary prevention at the age of 75 years: a nationwide population-based cohort study in France?. European Heart Journal 31 July 2019 doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz458

Tags: Elderly Health | Europe | Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals

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