Annals of Internal Medicine
Summaries for P atients
Statins for Primary Prevention in Older Adults The full report is titled "Cost-Effectiveness and Population Impact of Statins for Primary Prevention in Adults Aged 75 Years or Older in the United States." It is in the 21 April 2015 issue of Annals o f Internal Medicine (volume 162, pages 533-541). The authors are M.C. Odden, M.J. Pletcher, P.G. Coxson, D. Thekkethala, D. Guzman, D. Heller, L. Goldman, and K. Bibbins-Domingo.
W hat is the problem and what is know n about it so far? Many older adults who do not have heart disease take statins to prevent heart attacks and problems related to heart attacks.
W hy did the researchers do this particular study? Only a few small studies of statin use have been done in older adults, and the results have not yet confirmed the value of this practice.
W ho w as studied? People living in the United States who were aged 75 to 94 years.
H ow w as the study done? The investigators used models to estimate the cost-effectiveness of statins compared with no statins.
W hat did the researchers find? Statins were found to effectively prevent heart attacks and related problems at an acceptable cost when the investigators excluded side effects of the drugs that might be more of a problem in elderly adults than in younger people. However, this was not the case when they included even small amounts of these side effects in their analyses.
W hat were the lim itations o f the study? This type of analysis requires many assumptions.
W hat are the im plications o f the study? New clinical trials are required to understand whether older adults should take statins to prevent heart attacks and related problems.
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Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:1-28. doi: 10.7326/P15-9012
28 © 2015 American College of Physicians
Copyright © American College of Physicians 2015.