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Over 6 Million Older Americans May Benefit from Statins

Estimate based on high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels

TUESDAY, Mar. 10 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 6.5 million older American adults have levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) that suggest that they may benefit from statin treatment, according to a report in the Mar. 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Erin D. Michos, M.D., and Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1999 to 2004) to estimate the prevalence of older adults with fasting LDL-C below 130 mg/dL and hsCRP of 2 mg/L or greater. This population had been shown in the JUPITER clinical trial to have fewer cardiovascular events after rosuvastatin (Crestor) treatment, they note.

The researchers estimated that 3.9 million men aged 50 years and older and 2.6 million women aged 60 years and older in the United States had these levels of LDL-C and hsCRP. They also estimated that an additional 6.7 million older adults with elevated hsCRP had levels of LDL-C greater than the recommended National Cholesterol Education Program goals.

"Extrapolating the JUPITER study eligibility to NHANES (weighted to be representative of the general U.S. population), we estimate that an additional 3.9 million men age 50 years and older and 2.6 million women age 60 years and older could now be potential candidates for statin therapy," Michos and Blumenthal conclude. "Another potential public health effect would be to encourage untreated or undertreated hypercholesterolemic adults who are still above their [recommended] lipid thresholds and with inflammation to initiate statin therapy."

The statistical analysis was funded by AstraZeneca, which sells Crestor.

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