As sometimes happens, this week’s paper was sent to me by a few people. It’s an important paper, as it will be used to ensure that people don’t discontinue statins (i.e., continue to take them.) The paper was published on June 14th, 2021, in JAMA Open Network. It was called “Cardiovascular Outcomes and Mortality Associated With Discontinuing Statins in Older Patients Receiving Polypharmacy” (Ref 1). The paper was reported on the family medicine web site, Medscape, as "Stopping Statins Linked to Death, CV Events in Elderly" (Ref 2).
The research question was a novel and straightforward one – what are the implications of stopping statins in older patients receiving polypharmacy? Polypharmacy means many drugs. This is common in older people, as they accumulate prescriptions over the years and often prescriptions are given to deal with side effects from other drugs. For example, my mother was prescribed lansoprazole alongside a medication that could cause acidic stomach damage – one in anticipation of trouble from the other (she declined both).
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