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Care of older people

Stopping statins in older patients increases risk of cardiovascular-related hospital admission

Research published in the European Heart Journal has suggested that stopping statins in older people is associated with a 46.0% increased risk of hospital admission specifically for a coronary event.

statin tablets next to their packaging


Prescribers have been advised not to discontinue statins in patients aged 75 years and older

Statin discontinuation in patients aged 75 years and over is associated with a 33% increased risk of hospital admission for a cardiovascular event, a study published in European Heart Journal  on 31 July 2019 has found .

Researchers carried out a population-based cohort study using information from French national healthcare databases. All of the 120,173 individuals included were aged 75 years between 2012 and 2014, had no history of cardiovascular disease and had been taking statins for primary prevention for at least 80% of the time in the previous two-year period.

During the 2.4 year follow-up, 14.3% of patients discontinued their statin use (defined as at least three consecutive months during the period when they did not take statins) and 4.5% were admitted to hospital for a cardiovascular event.

The researchers used this data to calculate that statin discontinuation was associated with a 33.0% increased risk of admission for any cardiovascular event and a 46.0% increased risk of admission specifically for a coronary event.

“To patients, we would say that if you regularly take statins for high cholesterol, we would recommend you don’t stop the treatment when you are [aged] 75 [years or over],” said Philippe Giral, an endocrinology specialist in the prevention of cardiovascular disease at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris and lead author on the study.

“To doctors, we would recommend not stopping statin treatment given for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases in your patients aged 75 [years].” 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206878

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