Statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) Not Effective for Those Over 65 Years Old
Statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Pravastatin, have been recommended to prevent heart attacks in patients with elevated cholesterol. Some cardiologists have touted the benefits ot these drugs and have even suggested putting it in the water supply. When Pravastatin was tested on adults 65 years of age and older who had not had a prior heart attack but whom had LDL levels between 120 and 189 and whom also had hypertension, there was no preventative benefit.(1) The drug was given to them to prevent them from getting heart disease, but it was ineffective. For those adults 75 years of age or older, there was a slight increase in all cause mortality.
Most of the research indicates that statin (cholesterol lowering) medications are either of no preventative benefit or of very little benefit for most patients. But older individuals are more liable to suffer side effects from these medications, including a decline in physical and mental function, as the authors of this paper point out in the discussion section. Older adults are at increased risk of muscle problems from taking statins. Statins may also have cause fatigue with exertion and a loss of cognitive function.(2) Such effects can make older individuals less active, which can result in a negative impact on their health. Based on my reading of the studies, unless they have had a prior heart attack or stroke, older individuals probably should not take statins, but this decision should be made by you and your primary MD or your cardiologist.
2. Golomb BA, Evans MA, Dimsdale JE, White HL. Effects of statins on energy and fatigue with exertion: results from a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2012; 172(15): 1180-1182
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