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Almost all older people eligible for statins - report

03 August 2017 08:08

Almost all men over 60 and women over 75 may be eligible for statins

Almost all men over 60 and women over 75 may be eligible for statins

New analysis suggests that almost all men over 60 and women over 75 are eligible for the cholesterol-lowing drugs, statins.

US-based researchers calculated that 11.8 million English adults are eligible, after examining guidance on which patients should be offered statin therapy.

They found most adults who are appropriate, or being treated, for primary prevention are in older age groups, many of whom are eligible for over 65s travel insurance.

Large-scale prevention

The figures work out to cover more than a third (37%) of people between the ages 30 and 84, the US-based researchers said.

Of these, 9.8 million would be offered the medication as a preventative measure. And among this group, the researchers said 6.3 million were eligible for treatment but not currently on statins.

The authors calculated that if all these people were taking statins 290,000 cardiovascular events - including heart attacks and strokes - could be prevented over the next decade.

The team of researchers, led by Peter Ueda of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the US, set out to investigate the implications of guidance set by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in 2014.

The latest study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, examined an algorithm endorsed by Nice for the assessment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and compared it to data from the 2011 Health Survey for England to estimate the number of people who are eligible for statin therapy under the guidance.

"Under the guidelines, 11.8 million (37%) adults in England aged 30-84 years, including almost all males over 60 years and all females over 75 years, would be eligible for statin therapy," the authors wrote.

Risk increases with age

Just 4% of men and 2% of women aged 30 to 44 were deemed to be eligible to be offered the medication, but this figure increased with age.

Among men, 33% of those aged 45 to 59 would be eligible according to the risk assessment tool.

This increased to 95% of men aged 60 to 74 years and 100% of men aged 75 to 84.

One in 10 women aged 45 to 59 would be eligible, increasing to 66% of women aged 60 to 74 and 100% of women aged 75 to 84.