Don’t routinely prescribe lipid lowering drugs in patients with a limited life expectancy

Type of practice


Up to one-third of the population aged between 75 and 85 years assumes lipid lowering drugs (mainly statins) for primary or secondary prevention purposes. However, the concept that high LDL-cholesterol and/or low HDL in elderly people are as important cardiovascular risk factors as in younger ages is controversial, being extrapolated; indeed, in the very old people, low LDL-cholesterol correlates with an increased mortality. Above 85 years, the risk/benefit ratio of statins is not obviously a favorable one because, while life expectancy decreases, the incidence of adverse effects (muscular damage, neuropathy, cognitive derangement, falls) becomes relatively greater. In the face of a limited life-expectancy (i.e., less than10 years), starting a therapy with statins is not evidence based, maintaining it, is questionable.


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2. Schiattarella GG, Perrino C, Magliulo F, et al. Statins and the elderly: recent evidence and current indications. Aging Clin Exp Res 2012; 24(S3): 47-55.
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Attention. Please note that these items are provided only for information and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a clinician. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their clinician.