Doctors justify prescribing statins for this group by looking at a figure called the number needed to treat. In the case of statins, researchers calculate 28 people with existing heart disease or who had a stroke will need to be treated for five years to prevent one death, a figure low enough to warrant treatment. Now the debate has reignited with the publication of a brand new analysis that casts doubt on their benefit for people over the age of 65, and raised concern of the potential for harm in people aged So there’s growing debate about whether doctors should prescribe statins to otherwise healthy older people to reduce their risk of developing their first heart attack or stroke. Statins are the most commonly used cholesterol lowering medications in Australia. In 2010 2011 they’ve been taken by 6 million Australians with 16 million scripts dispensed from June 2011 to June 2012. A well-known fact that is. They are prescribed to lower blood lipid levels and so reduce people’s chances of heart disease, including stroke, and to prolong life.
In people who already have heart disease or who have had a stroke, the excellencies of statins are clear. Taking statins reduces your chance of another cardiovascular event whatever your age. In people without heart disease or who have not had a stroke, the pros of statins are less clear for those aged 70 years or older. Most national and international guidelines, including those from the Heart Foundation, have not been able to make strong recommendations to guide prescribing for older people. Any recommendations they do make are mostly on the basis of trials of statins in people under the age of 70. I’m sure you heard about this. The huge issue of whether to prescribe statins for older people is particularly important given the growing segment of our population living into their 70s and 80s. Some trials including older people without heart disease have reported no benefits whereas others have reported large benefits.
Reference to: http://theconversation.com