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Posted by on Apr 27, 2019 in Coronary artery disease | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the use of statins (a type of cholesterol-lowering drug) in older patients. They found that statins reduced the risk of major vascular events (MVEs) in all age groups. 

Some background

Statins are a type of drug used in the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. This is caused by blockages in the artery. Blockages are caused by fatty deposits. Statins lower the level of fats (lipids) in the blood. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a lipid found in the blood. High LDL-C levels can lead to major vascular events (MVEs). Statins may help prevent MVEs. These events include stroke, heart attack, and death.

The use of statins in patients aged over 75 is declining. This may be because less information is available on the safety of statins in older patients. Some drugs have different safety profiles in older patients. It is unclear if statins are safe and effective in this patient population. 

Methods & findings

This study analyzed 28 other studies. 186,854 patients were included in the analysis. Patients were taking statins or usual care (UC) for CAD. Patients were categorized based on age. The groups were as follows: under 55, 56-60, 61-65, 66-70, 71-75 and 75+ years. Patients were followed up for an average of 4.9 years. 

Statin therapy reduced the MVE risk by 21% for every 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL-C. The reduction in MVE was observed in all age groups. Statin therapy was also associated with a 24% lower coronary (heart) risk and a 16% lower stroke risk. 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that statins reduce the risk of major vascular events in all age groups.

The fine print

Some patients in the study did not have evidence of blockages in the blood vessels. It is unclear if these patients benefit from statin therapy. More studies are ongoing to investigate this. 

Published By :

Lancet (London, England)

Date :

Feb 02, 2019

Original Title :

Efficacy and safety of statin therapy in older people: a meta-analysis of individual participant data from 28 randomised controlled trials.

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