Statin Therapy – A new Low?

I have a 90 year-old female patient who is physically OK but starting to face the reality of dementia.
She showed me the “lovely” invitation from her GP to enroll in the StaREE trial. StaREE is the acronym (don’t you love them!) for “Statins in Reducing Events in the Elderly”.
A quaint idea, brilliantly conceived by a marketing department and funded by the NHMRC (oh dear..….that’s the group that hate homeopathy isn’t it?).

The lovely leaflet starts with the usual patronizing junk:

“As people age, their quality of life is increasingly affected by frailty, memory decline and chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.”

“Unfortunately, many older people will eventually develop some level of disability that results in a loss of independence and the need for residential care”

Maybe I’ve missed something here.

My older patients tell me that”

  • they are really concerned about their cognition – don’t statins adversely affect that?
  • Statins cause muscle discomfort and lower the enjoyment of exercise – isn’t “movement” fundamental to healthy ageing?
  • Statins increase the risk for diabetes – isn’t that a chronic disease for which these old folk are being used as an experiment?

This patient is confused.
Her invitation is so “nice” that it’s hard to refuse.
Her expected participation is for FIVE years for heaven’s sake!

“Your contribution to research into prolonging a healthy life and preventing cardiovascular disease and dementia is greatly appreciated” the leaflet continues.
What about those who already have dementia, and who never suffered from a cardiovascular event in the first place?
Wasn’t there an announcement from Queensland University researchers saying that the over-65 demographic who haven’t had a cardiovascular event have more risk than benefit by taking a statin?

This is deception, and sadly, is taking advantage of a cohort of people who have been “compliant” to every medical test, prescription and procedure without question.
It’s a potential money-making concern, and shame on the Universities who are also named in the research.

If this was a herbal initiative, certain individuals would be on national media demanding retractions, withdrawals and apologies.

They’ve been strangely, but predictably silent in this case.

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