Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Another study showing that statins will not help you to live longer

Meta-analyses are not always well done but the large number of "negative" finding is in this case impressive.  For more on existing findings, see here

Benefits Of Statins In Elderly Subjects Without Established Cardiovascular Disease. A Meta-Analysis

By Gianluigi Savarese et al


Objectives:  To assess whether statins reduce all-cause mortality and CV events in elderly people without established CV disease.

Background:  Since ageing of the population is steadily raising, prevention of cardiovascular (CV) disease in the elderly is relevant. In elderly patients with previous CV events, use of statins is recommended by guidelines, whereas benefits of these drugs in elderly subjects without previous CV events are still debated.

Methods:  Randomized trials comparing statins versus placebo and reporting all-cause and CV mortality, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and new cancer onset in elderly (>65 years old) subjects without established CV disease were included.

Results:  Eight trials enrolling 24,674 subjects (42.7% females; mean age 73.0+2.9; mean follow-up 3.5+1.5 years) were included in analyses. Statins, compared to placebo, significantly reduced the risk of MI by 39.4% (relative risk [RR]: 0.606 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.434 to 0.847]; p=0.003), as well as the risk of stroke by 23.8% (RR: 0.762 [CI: 0.626 to 0.926]; p=0.006). In contrast, the risk of all-cause death (RR: 0.941 [CI: 0.856 to 1.035]; p=0.210) and of CV death (RR: 0.907 [CI: 0.686 to 1.199]; p=0.493) were not significantly reduced. New cancer onset did not differ between statin- compared to placebo-treated subjects (RR: 0.989 [CI: 0.851 to 1.151]; p=0.890).

Conclusions:  In elderly subjects at high CV risk without established CV disease, statins significantly reduce the incidence of MI and stroke, but do not significantly prolong survival in the short-term.


But they do prevent Alzheimers in mice!

High doses of statins may prevent dementia in old age, according to research.  Patients who received the most potent forms of the cholesterol-lowering drug were up to three times less likely to suffer from the disease, scientists discovered.

The findings seem to back up earlier studies that claimed a widely prescribed statin may combat Alzheimer’s by improving the function of blood vessels.

The latest research examined nearly 58,000 patients in Taiwan to discover if use of the drug was associated with new diagnoses of dementia.

Dr Tin-Tse Lin, who presented the findings at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam said risks were reduced with increased total or daily dosages of the drug.

‘Patients who received the highest total equivalent doses of statins had a three-fold decrease in the risk of developing dementia,’ it was found.

‘Similar results were found with the daily equivalent statin dosage.’

Researchers found that the dosage rather than solubility of potent drugs such as atorvastatin and rosuvastatin were responsible for their effectiveness.

Almost every available version of the drug, except lovastatin, decreased the risk for new onset dementia when taken at higher daily doses.

‘Higher doses of high potency statins gave the strongest protective effects against dementia,’ said Dr Tin-Tse Lin.
High doses of statins may prevent dementia in old age, according to research

High doses of statins may prevent dementia in old age, according to research

‘A high mean daily dosage of lovastatin was positively associated with the development of dementia, possibly because lovastatin is a lipophilic statin while the anti-inflammatory cholesterol lowering effect of lovastatin is not comparable to that of atorvastatin and simvastatin.’

An earlier study found that a widely prescribed statin may prevent some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by improving blood vessel function.

The research, carried out on mice by researchers at McGill University in Montreal, also found the drug boosted learning and memory in younger sufferers when the disease had not progressed far.

However, treatment using simvastatin had no effect on one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s – a build-up of a particular protein in the brain, even in those who otherwise benefited.

About 1million prescriptions for the cholesterol-lowering drugs are written in England each week, and statins have become a mainstay for doctors treating the survivors of heart attacks and strokes.

They make up the vast majority of lipid-lowering drugs and are effective at lowering levels of cholesterol, the fatty substance in blood that clogs up arteries and leads to heart attacks.

So far there has been no clear evidence that statins help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In fact, memory loss is a known side-effects of the drug.


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