In a new study, researchers found statin therapy may reduce heart disease risk in older people.
The study assessed the effects of statins in nearly 187,000 people who had taken part in 28 large clinical trials.
Participants were divided into six age groups (under 55 years, 55-60, 60-65, 65-70, 70-75, and over 75 years) in order to assess the effects of statins on major vascular events, cancer incidence and deaths.
Statins help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood and are prescribed to millions of people globally.
Having a high level of LDL cholesterol can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries and cardiovascular disease.
The researchers found that, overall, statin treatment reduced the risk of a major vascular event by about a quarter for each millimole per litre reduction in LDL cholesterol, even in older people.
In addition, the new study found that statin therapy did not increase the risk of deaths from non-cardiovascular disease, or the risk of cancer, at any age.
Cardiovascular risk reductions were observed, irrespective of age, in people with or without known vascular disease at the start of the trials.
The evidence was less extensive in people aged over 75 who did not already have evidence of vascular disease (those who were prescribed statin therapy for the ‘primary prevention’ of heart attacks and strokes).
New randomised trials are now studying the effects of statins in more depth in apparently healthy older people.
The lead researcher is Professor Anthony Keech, Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Epidemiology at the University of Sydney.
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Source: University of Oxford.