Statins study questioning usage prompts medical warning

STATINS: Don't stop.
STATINS: Don't stop.

DOCTORS are warning seniors not to stop taking statins following a study questioning their use in elderly patients.

Conducted by researchers from University of Girona in Spain, and published in medical journal The BMJ , the study claims statins are not linked to a drop in cardiovascular disease or death in healthy people over 75.

Statins are often prescribed for people with, or who have a risk of developing, cardiovascular disease.

The researchers say there is no reason those without heart disease should take statins, unless they also have type 2 diabetes and are aged 75-84. They analysed data from 46,864 people aged over 75 with no history of heart disease from 2006-2015.

But the observational study has drawn criticism from medics and academics. 

Cardiologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland David Colquhoun said the authors were wrong. “This ‘study’ does not add anything at all to the literature regarding efficacy of lipid lowering therapy,” Dr Colquhoun said.

“This is not a research study, it is data dredging from computer records.”

Dr Colquhoun questioned the publishing of such “poor research”, saying it could lead to negative statin stories, which could cause repercussions.

He said that following an incorrect television story about statins (in 2013), it was documented that about 1.5 million people watched the program and between 1500 and 3000 patients could have been put at risk of a heart attack or stroke who otherwise would not have had such events.

University of Sydney researchers said an estimated 60,897 fewer people filled their statins prescriptions in the eight months following the broadcast.

This story Keep taking your statins, doctors urge first appeared on The Senior.