The study assessed the effects of statins in nearly 187,000 people who had taken part in 28 large clinical trials.
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 (heart attacks/strokes/coronary revascularisations), cancer incidence and deaths.
Lead investigator, Professor Anthony Keech, Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Epidemiology at the University of Sydney, said: ‘Statin therapy has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease in a wide range of people, but there has been uncertainty about its efficacy and safety among older people. Our study summarised all the available evidence from major trials to help clarify this issue. We found that there were significant reductions in major vascular events in each of the six age groups considered, including patients aged over 75 at the start of treatment.’
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.
Read more at University of Oxford