Skin Discovery

Statins may lower risk of death

In a retrospective analysis of data from nearly 60,000 veterans who had been prescribed statins, HMS investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and VA Boston Healthcare System found that the use of the drugs by veterans who were over the age of 75 but had not experienced a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event lowered the risk of dying from any cause by 25 percent compared with peers who had not been treated with statins. The risk of death from a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, was 20 percent lower in the group taking statins. The findings reflect participant outcomes during a mean follow-up period of nearly 7 years.

In addition, the researchers found that veterans who were older than 90, including patients with conditions such as dementia, also had lower mortality rates. In secondary analyses, the team found that starting a statin was also significantly associated with a lower risk of a cardiovascular event such as heart attack and stroke. Of particular note, they add, was a marked decline in rate of strokes among the study’s Black participants.

The researchers suggest that these findings indicate that a patient’s age should not deter a physician from prescribing statins.  

Orkaby AR et al., JAMA, July 2020