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Patients over 75 can benefit from statins, study says

Patients aged over 75 can safely be offered statins to cut the risk of vascular events and reduce vascular mortality, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration looked at the efficacy and safety of statin therapy in older people and found it reduces major cardiovascular events, regardless of age.

The study found statin therapy, or a more intensive statin regimen, produced a 21% proportional reduction in the risk of a first major vascular event (per 1.0mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol), compared with control therapy, and a 24% reduction in major coronary events when compared with controls.

The research team carried out a meta-analysis of randomised trials of statin therapy, which included at least 1,000 participants receiving treatment for at least two years.

In total, they included 28 trials and 301,649 patients, estimating effects on major vascular events, and cause-specific mortality.

Of these, 186,854 patients were aged 55 years or younger, 31,434 (17%) were 56–60 years, 37,764 (20%) were 61–65 years, 36,567 (20%) were 66–70 years, 27,314 (15%) were aged 71–75 years, and 14,483 (8%) were older than 75 years

Independently significant risk reductions in each of the age groups was seen, including in those over 75 years at the start of treatment, the paper said.

The researchers said although proportional reductions in major vascular events ‘diminished slightly with increasing age, this trend was not statistically significant’.

‘Statin therapy produces significant reductions in major vascular events irrespective of age, but there is less direct evidence of benefit among patients older than 75 years who do not already have evidence of occlusive vascular disease,’ the authors concluded.

They added: ‘This limitation is now being addressed by further trials.’

Lancet 2019, online 2 Feb