Giving statins to all older people could save 8000 lives every year

Giving statins to all older people could save 8000 lives every year

Giving statins to all older people could save 8000 lives every year

'There is an idea that the person is elderly, they are going to have many other things happen to them, so why bother?' Since 2014, NHS guidelines have said all over-75s - even those who are healthy - should be eligible for statins.

"Five and a half million people are over the age of 75 and about a third of those are now taking a statin". Professor Martin Marshall, of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, added: 'It's particularly reassuring to see evidence of benefit in patients over the age of 75 - the age group most likely to need cholesterol medication'.

In a meta-analysis of almost 187,000 people who had taken part in 28 large clinical trials, researchers from the University of Sydney's Clinical Trials Centre have found statin treatment reduced the risk of a major vascular event across all ages - including those over 75 years.

Cardiovascular disease kills about 150,000 people in the United Kingdom each year, with two-thirds of these occurring in people over the age of 75.

The research, which pools data from 28 gold-standard clinical trials involving 14,500 people, aimed to resolve controversy over whether the drugs were worthwhile in that age group.

There were similar reductions in risk for stroke and for coronary stenting or bypass surgery.

Authors of the paper said there had until now been an "evidence gap" around how effective the drugs are for the elderly.

"There has been a longstanding controversy over whether statins are effective and safe in the elderly", said the University of Oxford's Colin Baigent, a member of the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' Collaboration, an global group of doctors and researchers who conducted the analysis.

While two-thirds of deaths from heart disease occur in those over the age of 75, just one in three people in this age group is prescribed the drugs which could save them, they said.

Overall statin therapy or a more intensive statin regimen led to a 21% (RR 0·79, 95% CI 0·77-0·81) proportional reduction in major vascular events per 1·0 mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol, according to the study published in The Lancet this week.

About 1,000 patients in hospital hallways on any given day
Demographic projections suggest that the province will see an increase in its population by roughly 30 per cent by 2041. Meanwhile, 41% of patients who go to hospital emergency rooms for treatment could be treated by a family doctor.

The drugs help lower the level of "bad" or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood.

The academic said a number of misleading studies - which he branded "fake news" - had created confusion over the effectiveness and side-effects of statins among doctors and patients.

"That may be a choice they're willing to take".

Much of the row over the drugs has stemmed from the uneasiness doctors feel at the "medicalisation" of otherwise healthy people.

With increasing age there was a trend towards smaller proportional risk reductions in major coronary events (ptrend=0·009).

And he also said he was not calling for people to pick statins over exercise and lifestyle changes.

"I think it's not an either/or", he added.

Professor Garry Jennings AO, Executive Director of Sydney Health partners, Chief Medical Advisor of the Heart Foundation and Senior Director from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, said while the evidence base for statins is "huge", the medicine remains the subject of recurring controversies.

Prof Martin Marshall, vice-chairman of the college, said some patients would not want to be on long-term medication.

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