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Statin Users Live Longer Than Non-Users, Study Finds

Overall, statin users are two years older at death compared to non-users

THURSDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Even though they are at higher risk of mortality, elderly statin users tend to live a mean of two years longer than those who do not use statins, according to a report in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Jawahar L. Mehta, M.D., of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System in Little Rock, Ark., and colleagues examined the effect of statins on overall mortality by examining data from 1,490,466 veterans in the South Central Veterans Affairs Healthcare Network. About half the statin users were older than 70 years when they started taking the drugs.

In addition to older age, statin users had higher risks for comorbidity including pre-existing coronary artery disease, hypertension, current smoking, use of cardiac medications and diabetes. A previous cancer diagnosis was the strongest predictor of death, followed by diabetes and cardiac drug use. Patient age was positively linked to mortality, although body mass index was negatively associated. Aspirin use was not protective for mortality.

"Overall, this study, based on a very large database, demonstrated a protective effect of statin therapy in elderly veteran patients. Importantly, this is the first study showing a graded relation between risk factors and the life-saving effects of statins," the authors conclude.

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