Older men and women who stopped taking the drugs were at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Statins are proven effective in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, but some studies suggest that after age 75, the risks outweigh the benefits. Now new research has found that stopping the drugs may be a bad idea.
The retrospective study, published in the European Heart Journal, included 120,173 people who turned 75 while taking statins. None had any heart problems.
Over two years, 5,396 were hospitalized for cardiovascular disease and 17,204 stopped their pills. They stopped for various reasons, most often because they were hospitalized or admitted to a skilled nursing facility during the course of the study.
Compared with those who continued their medication, those who stopped had a 46 percent increased risk for a coronary problem like heart attack or heart failure, and a 26 percent increased risk for stroke.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association provide no recommendation on statins for people over 75, except to say that the decision should be a shared process between patient and doctor.
The senior author, Dr. Joël Coste, an epidemiologist at the Hôpital Cochin in Paris, said that a randomized trial is now going on, but the results will not be available until 2020 or later. “In the meanwhile,” he said, “this study provides further reasons to continue statins over 75.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/well/live/statins-provide-heart-benefits-past-age-75.html)