Washington: While statins are known to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of further problems in patients who have already suffered heart problems, a new study has found that adults who stop consuming these drugs become more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases.
The findings of this study were published in the journal ‘European Heart Journal’
Dr Philippe Giral, study lead said, “To patients, we would say that if you are regularly taking statins for high cholesterol, we would recommend you don’t stop the treatment when you are 75.”
While advicing the doctors, Giral added, “We would recommend not stopping statin treatment given for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases in your patients aged 75.”
The study incorporated a total of 120,173 people, who were aged 75 between 2012 and 2014 and had been taking statins continuously for two years.
Researchers found that those who stopped taking their statins had a 33 per cent increased risk of being admitted to hospital with heart or blood vessel problems during an average follow-up period of 2.4 years.
The researchers followed these patients for a maximum of four years (an average of 2.4 years). During this time 14.3% (17,204 people) stopped taking statins for at least three consecutive months, and 4.5 per cent (5,396 people) were admitted to hospital for a cardiovascular problem.
They found that there was a 46 per cent increased risk of a coronary event, while the increased risk of a blood vessel problem, such as stroke, was 26 per cent.
Co-author of the study, Professor Joel Coste said, “While we wait for results from randomised controlled trials, carefully conducted observational studies such as this can provide useful information for doctors and patients, and can contribute to establishing more precise guidelines on the use of statins for primary prevention in the elderly.”
The researchers found an unexpectedly low statin discontinuation rate (14.3 per cent) among the people they studied, but believe this is probably due to the fact that they included only people who had been taking statins continuously for the previous two years.
Researchers also highlighted some seasons such as other health problems, cancer, admission to hospital, or changes in daily care (such as admission to a nursing home, problems with feeding) behind quitting statins.