Taking high-dose statins – cholesterol-lowering drugs – slightly improves survival rates for certain patients. The study followed over 509,000 patients with various forms of cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that survival rates increased by nine percent with high-dose statins, compared to moderate-dose statins, over the course of a year.
The participants in the study were over the age of 75. The researchers suggest that older adults who have had a cardiovascular event should be on high-dose statins.
Information regarding patients over the age of 75 is limited, which is why there are no consistent guidelines with regards to high-dose statins.
Study author Dr. Fatima Rodriguez explained why high-dose statins offer benefits for those over the age of 75, “Part of it is, they lower the LDL, the bad cholesterol. They also lower inflammation and plaque, improving heart health.
Dr. Robert Bonow and Dr. Clyde Yancy commented in an accompanying editorial on the study, “[The researchers] provide compelling evidence that statins reduce mortality even when measured at only one year of exposure and that the reduction in mortality is greater with high-intensity statin therapy.”
For now, doctors should discuss statin use with their patients to see what best works for the individual.