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Drugs Aging. 2015 Aug;32(8):649-61. doi: 10.1007/s40266-015-0290-9.

Statins for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Elderly Patients: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

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Pharmacy and Therapeutics Office, Group Corporate Development, National Healthcare Group, 3 Fusionopolis Link, #03-08 Nexus@one-north, Singapore, 138543, Singapore,



Statins have been shown to be beneficial in primary and secondary prevention settings; however, their role in the elderly remains a clinical conundrum, given that age-related factors could alter the risk-benefit ratio of statin treatment. This study aimed to critically evaluate the efficacy and safety of statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the elderly.


We systematically reviewed randomized controlled trials comparing any statins with placebo or usual care for primary prevention of CVD in subjects aged ≥65 years. Relative risks (RRs) using a random effects model were calculated and sensitivity analyses were performed to assess the robustness of findings.


Eight studies (n = 25,952) were included in the meta-analysis. Statins significantly reduced the risks of composite major adverse cardiovascular events (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.74-0.92), nonfatal myocardial infarction [MI] (0.75, 0.59-0.94) and total MI (0.74, 0.61-0.90). Treatment effects of statins were statistically insignificant in fatal MI (0.43, 0.09-2.01), stroke (fatal: 0.76, 0.24-2.45; nonfatal: 0.76, 0.53-1.11; total: 0.85, 0.68-1.06) and all-cause mortality (0.96, 0.88-1.04). Significant differences were not observed in myalgia (0.88, 0.69-1.13), elevation of hepatic transaminases (0.98, 0.71-1.34), new-onset diabetes (1.07, 0.77-1.48), serious adverse events (1.00, 0.97-1.04) and discontinuation due to adverse events (1.10, 0.85-1.42). The occurrence of myopathy, rhabdomyolysis and cognitive impairment was largely unreported in the included trials.


From a risk-benefit perspective, there is a role of statins for the primary prevention of major adverse cardiovascular events in elderly patients. Further studies are needed to ascertain the benefits of statins on fatal MI, stroke and all-cause mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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