Cholesterol-lowering drugs may strongly reduce death risk in older people

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Many studies have shown that statins can prevent heart attacks, strokes, and death in middle-aged adults.

But in 28 major clinical trials of statins, only 2% of participants have been 75 years or older.

This means that even though older adults are at greater risk of heart disease and death, there is scant data on whether statins should be prescribed for them.

In a recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and elsewhere, researchers found statins may play an important role in the health of older adults who have not yet experienced a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular events.

They found the risk of dying from any cause was lower by 25% among veterans who were using statins compared to those who were not treated with statins.

The risk of dying from a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, was lower by 20%.

The study is published in JAMA. One author is Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH.

In the study, the team looked at data on veterans who used VA services between 2002 and 2012, were 75 years or older, and had not previously had a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular events.

Of the more than 300,000 eligible veterans, the team identified more than 57,000 who began taking statins during this time.

They compared individuals who began taking statins to those who had the same likelihood of being prescribed a statin based on clinical characteristics but did not receive a prescription for the drug.

Overall, taking statins was strongly linked to a lower risk of death from a cardiovascular event or death from any cause.

And the benefits remained for veterans at an advanced age, including those who were 90 years or older.

Lower death rates extended to those with other conditions such as dementia—individuals who have been excluded from previous studies.

In addition, the researchers found that starting a statin was also strongly linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.

They say statins are commonly studied and prescribed for middle-aged adults but understudied in people over age 75.

But this study found the benefit of statins held true regardless of whether a person was older or younger or had a condition such as dementia.

During the study’s timeframe, the most commonly prescribed statin was simvastatin, but currently, higher-dose and higher-intensity statins have become more frequently prescribed.

While statins are generally well-tolerated, many people report aches and pains as a side effect, which may lead some to stop taking the drug.

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