Statins May Help Heart Patients Live Longer
High-dose statin therapy may increase survival in older adults with heart disease—even patients over the age of 75—according to a new study. There is some controversy regarding the use of statins. In 2013, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommended high-dose statins for patients with cardiovascular disease 75 or younger. The Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System recommended only moderate-intensity statins for these patients because of insufficient evidence that high-dose drugs are better.
A large, national study, recently conducted by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, compared high-dose statin therapy and moderate-dose treatment. Researchers examined cholesterol levels and mortality rates of 509,766 patients between the ages of 21 and 84 who received treatment through the VA for cardiovascular disease. About thirty percent of patients were treated with high-dose statin drugs, 46 percent were treated with moderate-intensity statins, and 6.7 percent were treated with low-dose therapy.
During the year-long study and follow-up period, patients who received the highest doses had the lowest mortality rates. These results were observed in all age groups. This study could result in changes to the recommended guidelines for statin drugs—which, according to researchers, are being underused.
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