Statin Therapy in Cardiovascular Health

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Statin Therapy Linked to Reduced Cardiovascular Events in Older Adults

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 26 - In older individuals who are advised to use medication to lower cholesterol, the use of statins is associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, according to new data from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS).

Dr. Rozenn N. Lemaitre from the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues collected data on 1914 women and men, 65 years of age or older, who participated in the CHS. At baseline, these patients were free from cardiovascular disease, according to the report in the June 24th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The patients were receiving drugs to lower cholesterol (251 subjects) or no therapy (1663 subjects). Among the untreated patients, 717 were prescribed drug therapy and 946 were prescribed diet therapy.

After 7.3 years of follow-up, the researchers looked for incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. There were 159 myocardial infarctions, 159 strokes, and 64 deaths due to cardiovascular disease, and 362 total deaths.

"We observed a 56% lower risk of incident cardiovascular events and a 44% lower all-cause mortality associated with the use of statins among CHS participants for whom therapy for the lowering of cholesterol levels was recommended and who were on average aged 72 years at entry into the cohort," Dr. Lemaitre and colleagues report.

"Physicians [should] consider statin therapy for elderly patients for whom cholesterol-lowering therapy is recommended according to the NCEP guidelines," Dr. Lemaitre told Reuters Health.

"It must be emphasized that this prospective study was not a controlled clinical trial," Dr. Scott M. Grundy from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, comments in a journal editorial. However, the study adds to the "growing evidence that LDL-lowering therapy is effective for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease in older persons," he adds.

Arch Intern Med 2002;162:1329-1331,1395-1400.
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