From the Journals

Older patients who stop statins may be increasing their cardiovascular risk



Discontinuing statins was associated with an increased risk of hospital admission for a cardiovascular event, according to a study of elderly French patients with no history of heart disease.

Blister pack of generic statins RogerAshford/Thinkstock

“The results of this study suggest potential cardiovascular risk reduction associated with continuing statin therapy after the age of 75 years in persons already taking these drugs for primary prevention,” wrote Philippe Giral, MD, of Hôpital La Pitié Salpêtrière (France) and coauthors. The study was published in the European Heart Journal.

To determine if statins are a cardiovascular benefit or detriment to older people, the researchers reviewed data from 120,173 patients in French health care databases who turned 75 during 2012-2014. Patients with a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease in the previous 2 years were excluded, and all eligible patients were required to have a statin medication possession ratio of at least 80% in each of the previous 2 years.

Over a follow-up period that averaged 2.4 years, 17,204 patients (14.3%) discontinued statins and 5,396 (4.5%) were admitted for a cardiovascular event. The adjusted hazard ratios for admissions after statin discontinuation were 1.33 (95% confidence interval, 1.18-1.50) for a cardiovascular event, 1.46 (95% CI, 1.21-1.75) for a coronary event, 1.26 (95% CI, 1.05-1.51) for a cerebrovascular event, and 1.02 (95% CI, 0.74-1.40) for other vascular events, respectively.

The coauthors acknowledged their study’s limitations, including being unable to account for certain cardiovascular risk factors such as baseline LDL cholesterol level, tobacco use, obesity, and frailty markers. In addition, no information was available as to why patients discontinued statins. However, the presence of other major cardiovascular risk factors was investigated and accounted for, as was discontinuation of other cardiovascular drug therapies.

The study was not funded, and the authors declared no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Giral P at al. Eur Heart J. 2019 July 31. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz458.

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