Statins: Do the risks outweigh the benefits in over 65s?

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Post hoc analysis of data from the ALLHAT-LLT study of 2,867 participants enrolled at 513 sites.

A leading expert says careful consideration of the multiple risks of statin therapy should be considered before prescribing these agents to older patients.

It follows the publication of a new study which analysed data from 2,867 older adults in the Lipid-Lowering Trial (LLT) component of the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT-LLT). The study found no significant benefit in all-cause mortality or cardiovascular outcomes when pravastatin was given to older adults with moderate hyperlipidaemia and hypertension. Furthermore, there was a nonsignificant trend toward increased all-cause mortality with pravastatin among adults 75 years and older.

In an editorial published in JAMA Internal Medicine , Dr Gregory Curfman of Harvard Medical School and health care policy and law editor of the journal, said the combination of the multiple risks associated with statins and the new ALLHAT-LLT data showing that statin therapy in older adults may be associated with an increased mortality rate, “should be considered before prescribing or continuing statins for patients in this age category”.

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