May 25, 2017 — One in three adults over 65 years old take a cholesterol pill, but a shocking new study has found an increased risk of death and no benefits for preventing heart attacks.
Statins reduce the amount of cholesterol made in the liver. They are advertised as a once-daily pill to prevent heart attacks. The best-selling drug of all time is the statin Lipitor (atorvastatin). Other statins include Crestor, Zocor, Pravachol, and generics.
There is “no data to support the use of statins for people over the age of 75,” according to Dr. Ross Walker, but the use of statins has skyrocketed in this age group. In the last 10 years, the percentage of adults over 79 who were prescribed a statin tripled from 9% to 34%.
Statins are proven to benefit people with pre-existing heart disease, especially people who’ve already had a heart attack, but new research suggests that statins may do more harm than good in healthy seniors.
In a study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from New York University warned:
Statin therapy in older adults may be associated with an increased mortality rate should be considered before prescribing or continuing statins for patients in this age category.”
The conclusions were based on an analysis of data from ALLHAT-LIT, a randomized controlled clinical trial in which 2,900 adults over 65 without heart disease took a placebo or Pravachol (40-mg) every day.
Shockingly, Pravachol patients between the ages of 65 and 74 years old were significantly more likely to die than patients on a placebo (141 vs. 113 deaths). For patients older than 75, the risk was even more pronounced (92 vs. 65 deaths).
Pravachol patients had slightly fewer heart attacks than placebo patients, but the number did not reach statistical significance. Researchers concluded that Pravachol had zero benefit for patients over 65 without heart disease.