Statins reduce stroke risk in older people, suggests study

19 May 2015        

A picture of statins being taken out of the packet Statins, which help lower cholesterol, are associated with 30 per cent lower risk of stroke in healthy older people, suggests a study published in The BMJ.

In the UK 640 people a day will go to hospital due to a stroke. These new findings suggest that statins might be a useful tool to help prevent strokes in older populations.

The study provides a rare opportunity to assess the impact of statins on older people. Very few people over 70 take part in clinical trials for cardiovascular drugs therefore the evidence base for prescribing them to that population is limited.

The study and our advice

In this study researchers tracked almost 7,500 men and women (average age 74 years) looking to determine the association between taking cholesterol lowering drugs and long term risk of stroke and coronary heart disease in healthy older people.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:

Three decades of research, much of it funded by the BHF, has shown that statins significantly reduce people’s risk of heart attack and stroke. This research study adds to that body of evidence.

“The research suggests that taking statins significantly cuts the risk of stroke for the over 65s, which is an important finding as this age group is often excluded from clinical trials. More research is now needed to tell us conclusively if we should be prescribing statins more widely to people of this age to help lower their risk of a stroke."

Support and information

You can find out more about statins and heart health here. But if you have been prescribed statins and have any questions, you can also contact our Heart Helpline.