Fast Five Quiz: Statins

Mary L. Windle, PharmD


May 17, 2021

Because few randomized controlled trials involving statins have included patients older than 70 years, specific indications and guidelines for statin use in this population are unclear. However, a study of 320,000 patients aged ≥ 75 years who were free of cardiovascular disease and were prescribed statins for the first time found that they had a one-fourth lower risk for death and a 20% lower risk for cardiovascular death over an average of 7 years compared with patients not prescribed statins. Two separate studies confirmed that elderly patients benefit from statins as much as, if not more than, younger patients. This has prompted some experts to call for updated guidelines that strengthen recommendations for this patient population.

An observational study found that statin use lowered risk for postoperative adhesion-related complications after intra-abdominal surgery. The study included more than 1.3 million individuals and found that statin use reduced risk for adhesion-related complications by as much as 20%, after adjustment for comorbidities and other patient characteristics. This reduction was not found among individuals using other lipid-lowering therapies.

A meta-analysis found that the benefit of statin therapy in preventing ischemic stroke far exceeds any related risk for intracerebral hemorrhage. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 19 clinical studies involving patients with a history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events who were treated with statins. A total of 35,842 patients were included. Results showed that statin use was not significantly associated with the risk for combined primary and secondary intracerebral hemorrhage, whereas the risk for cerebral ischemia (stroke and transient ischemic attack) was significantly lower in those who received statins.

Data from a propensity-matched analysis support the use of statins to protect against cardiotoxic chemotherapy. Among women with breast cancer treated with anthracycline chemotherapy, statins were associated with a 55% lower risk for hospitalizations or emergency department visits for heart failure at 5 years.

Read more about the primary prevention of coronary artery disease.


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