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Aspirin Overused, Statins Underused for CVD Prevention in Seniors

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 -- For older adults, aspirin seems to be overused and statins underused for cardiovascular event prevention, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Taeho Greg Rhee, Ph.D., from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, and colleagues conducted a repeated cross-sectional study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2011 to 2018) involving 11,392 noninstitutionalized adults aged 50 years and older. The authors examined age-related trajectories of cardiovascular risk and use of aspirin and statins.

The researchers found that the prevalence of those eligible for primary prevention treatment of a cardiovascular event increased with age, from 31.8 to 52.0 percent for those ages 50 to 54 years and 75 years and older, respectively. There was also an increase seen with age in the prevalence of those eligible for secondary prevention treatment, from 2.7 to 21.1 percent in those ages 50 to 54 years and 75 years and older, respectively. With age, there was an increase in low-dose daily aspirin use; among adults aged 75 years and older, 45.3 percent took low-dose aspirin daily for primary prevention. There was also an increase in statin use with age; among those aged 75 years and older, 56.4 percent of adults had long-term statin use for secondary prevention.

"Health care providers should inform their older patients about appropriate aspirin use so that they can avoid misuse of aspirin, which can be easily purchased over the counter," Rhee said in a statement. "Ultimately, safer prescribing practice, patient education, and patient-oriented effectiveness research should be continually encouraged to reduce potential harms and improve cardiovascular health in older adults."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, medical device, and health insurance industries.

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Posted: February 2021

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