Patients open to discontinuing statins near end of life

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But some patients expressed concern that statin deprescribing indicated physician abandonment.

New findings show that patients with a life-limiting illness are receptive to discontinuing statin theraoy near end of life.

Almost 300 patients were surveyed as part of a new study published in the  Journal of Palliative Medicine  which aimed to quantify the perceived benefits and concerns of statin discontinuation among patients with life-limiting illnesses.

Significant numbers of participants cited potential benefits of stopping statins, including spending less money on medications (63 per cent), potentially stopping other medications (34 per cent), and having a better quality of life (25 per cent). Cardiovascular patients were particularly likely to envision quality-of-life benefits arising from statin discontinuation.

However, less than 5 per cent of participants expressed concern that statin deprescribing indicated physician abandonment, while almost one in five participants felt discontinuation represented prior wasted effort (18 per cent).

Study author, Jon Furuno said he hoped the findings will help inform prescribers who might be tentative to address this topic with their patients. “A lot of our work is trying to better inform the evidence base for medication use at the end of life, and patient perceptions are really important in trying to honour what the patient wants and what the family wants,” Furano said.

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