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Lipid-modifying therapy in the elderly

Authors Hamilton-Craig I, Colquhoun D, Kostner K, Woodhouse S, d'Emden M

Received 11 September 2014

Accepted for publication 17 October 2014

Published 14 May 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 251—263

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/VHRM.S40474

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Daniel Duprez


Ian Hamilton-Craig,1,2 David Colquhoun,3,4 Karam Kostner,4,5 Stan Woodhouse,4,6 Michael d'Emden4,7

1Griffith University School of Medicine, Griffith Health Institute, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia; 2Flinders University School of Medicine, Adelaide, SA, Australia, 3Wesley Medical Centre, Auchenflower, QLD, Australia; 4University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; 5Department of Cardiology, Mater Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD, Australia; 6Taylor Medical Centre, Woolloongabba, QLD, Australia; 7Department of Endocrinology, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston, QLD, Australia

Abstract: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and morbidity increases with increasing age, largely as a result of increased lifetime exposure as well as increased prevalence of CVD risk factors. Hospitalization for CVD increases by a factor of over 18× for those aged 85+ years versus those aged <30 years. In spite of this, life expectancy continues to increase, and in Australia for people reaching the age of 65 years, it is now 84 years in men and 87 years in women. The number of people for whom lipid management is potentially indicated therefore increases with aging. This is especially the case for secondary prevention and for people aged 65–75 years for whom there is also evidence of benefit from primary prevention. Many people in this age group are not treated with lipid-lowering drugs, however. Even those with CVD may be suboptimally treated, with one study showing treatment rates to fall from ~60% in those aged <50 years to <15% for those aged 85+ years. Treatment of the most elderly patient groups remains controversial partly from the lack of randomized trial intervention data and partly from the potential for adverse effects of lipid therapy. There are many complex issues involved in the decision to introduce effective lipid-lowering therapy and, unfortunately, in many instances there is not adequate data to make evidence-based decisions regarding management. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of the management of lipid disorders in the elderly and proposes guidelines for management.

Keywords: lipid management, elderly, statins

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