Statins’ Effectiveness Might Rise With Affected person Age: Examine


By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter>

TUESDAY, Aug. 1, 2023 — Aged adults who begin on a statin might even see an excellent greater drop of their “unhealthy” levels of cholesterol than their youthful counterparts do, a brand new research suggests.

The research, of almost 84,000 Danish sufferers, discovered that these age 75 and up usually confirmed a stronger response after beginning a low- to moderate-dose statin: In contrast with the standard 50-year-old, their LDL ldl cholesterol dipped by a couple of extra share factors.

Researchers mentioned the findings recommend that older sufferers may start with a lower-dose statin, to reduce the possibilities of uncomfortable side effects. Whereas statins are thought of protected, they might trigger issues like muscle ache or elevated blood sugar in some folks.

The percentages of uncomfortable side effects usually go up with greater statin doses, and older adults are usually extra weak than their youthful counterparts.

So, beginning at a decrease statin dose might be “an interesting various” for older sufferers, mentioned senior researcher Dr. Marie Lund, of the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen.

She added, nonetheless, that there are extra issues to think about — together with an older individual’s present well being circumstances and the necessity for decreasing the danger of a future coronary heart assault or stroke.

Statins are among the many most generally used drugs globally, spurred by research displaying that together with chopping ranges of “unhealthy” LDL ldl cholesterol, they assist forestall coronary heart assaults and strokes.

However medical trials usually embody few sufferers older than 70, so there may be much less proof to information statin use for these older adults.

Present therapy tips do suggest getting older adults’ LDL down “dramatically” if they’ve already had a stroke or coronary heart assault, mentioned Dr. Howard Weintraub, medical director of the Middle for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Illness at NYU Langone in New York Metropolis.

The image is considerably totally different on the subject of “main prevention” — that’s, stopping a first-time coronary heart assault or stroke. Statin choices are usually extra individualized, Weintraub mentioned.

And that, he mentioned, implies that age alone shouldn’t be the premise for anybody’s beginning dose.

“We have realized that age cut-offs are synthetic,” Weintraub mentioned. “It’s important to have a look at the general danger of heart problems.”

He mentioned the brand new research is “informative,” in displaying that older sufferers might have a higher response after beginning a statin than youthful sufferers do. However the common variations had been additionally small, Weintraub added.

Nor, he mentioned, does the research reply the larger query: To what diploma do decrease statin doses lower the danger of coronary heart assault, stroke and loss of life in older sufferers?

“Ought to this form the way in which that docs deal with sufferers?” Weintraub requested. “I do not assume so.”

The research, revealed Aug. 1 within the Annals of Inner Medication, relies on almost 84,000 Danish sufferers in a nationwide registry. All had been newly prescribed both simvastatin (Zocor) or atorvastatin (Lipitor) between 2008 and 2018.

General, sufferers age 75 and up confirmed extra of an LDL dip after beginning a low- or moderate-dose statin, versus sufferers youthful than 50. With a 20-milligram (mg) dose of simvastatin, for instance, older sufferers had a mean LDL decline of 39%, versus 34% among the many youthful group.

On steadiness, 75-year-olds had an additional 2.6 share factors shaved from their LDL after beginning a low- to moderate-dose statin, versus the common 50-year-old. That distinction was smaller with a high-dose statin (40 or 80 mg of atorvastatin).

It isn’t clear, nonetheless, whether or not meaning a 75-year-old would get extra safety in opposition to coronary heart assault or stroke from a lower-dose statin, versus a youthful individual.

Like Weintraub, Lund famous that the research didn’t have a look at “arduous outcomes” resembling coronary heart assault and loss of life from cardiovascular causes.

“So, we won’t instantly assess any results on heart problems danger discount,” she mentioned.

Lund additionally harassed that the findings don’t apply to older adults who’ve been on a statin for a few years, since her workforce solely studied individuals who had been simply beginning one of many drugs.

Weintraub additionally emphasised that time. “This shouldn’t be a sign for folks to go to their physician and ask for a decrease dose,” he mentioned.

In his personal follow, Weintraub mentioned, he usually prescribes the statin sort and dose that can get the LDL discount a selected affected person wants for decreasing the danger of heart problems.

“If there are uncomfortable side effects,” he mentioned, “it is more likely to be muscle aches that can go away as soon as the statin is stopped.”

That mentioned, Weintraub added, if a affected person prefers a decrease dose, that’s “higher than no statin.”


  • Marie Lund, MD, PhD, division of epidemiological analysis, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Howard Weintraub, MD, medical director, Middle for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Illness, NYU Langone Well being, New York Metropolis
  • Annals of Inner Medication, Aug. 1, 2023, on-line

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