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Pulse (Basel). 2018 Jul;6(1-2):19-31. doi: 10.1159/000485659. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

High-Intensity Statin Therapy Is "Too Much," Thus Not Indicated for Very Elderly Patients.

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Department of Pharmacy, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Republic of Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Although moderate- to high-intensity statin therapy is increasingly recommended in cardiovascular disease patients, the efficacy and safety in elderly patients have not been proven clearly. Here, we compare the effect of various-intensity statins between elderly and very elderly patients.


43,870 patients over 65 years old who were treated with statins were screened using electronic medical record data.


We evaluated 451 patients in the elderly group aged 65-74 years and 159 patients in the very elderly group over 75 years old. Baseline cholesterol profiles were similar between the 2 groups, but the 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk was significantly higher in the very elderly (20.9 ± 11.5$ vs. 37.2 ± 13.6$, p < 0.001). The reduction rate of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (-40.2 ± 21.3$ vs. -39.3 ± 21.0$, p = 0.634) and the ratio of target LDL attainment (74.2 vs. 79.2$, p = 0.252) were similar between the 2 groups. Low-intensity statins showed comparable LDL cholesterol reduction with moderate-intensity statins both in the elderly and the very elderly groups. The 10-year ASCVD risk reduction was similar between the 2 groups (-3.5 ± 4.9$ vs. -3.0 ± 8.4$, p = 0.480), but in the very elderly group, no different ASCVD reduction rate was shown in low- to high-intensity statins (p = 0.784). Only the elderly group showed a significant correlation (r = 0.112, p = 0.017) with LDL reduction and 10-year ASCVD risk. Interestingly, the incidence of adverse drug reaction (ADR) was higher in the very elderly group (4.4$) than in the elderly group (2.7$) and was more frequent in high-intensity statin therapy.


The efficacy of statins in LDL reduction was similar between the elderly and very elderly population. However, the benefit of moderate- to high-intensity statins is limited considering potential ADR. Therefore, the stepwise intensification of statin therapy might be necessary for the very elderly in spite of the higher cardiovascular risk.


Adverse drug reaction; Cardiovascular disease; Cholesterol; Elderly; Statins

[Available on 2019-07-01]
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