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Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly ( PROSPER )

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Authoring team

This study was designed to examine the hypothesis that pravastatin will reduce myocardial infarction and stroke events in elderly patients with existing vascular disease or at a high risk of developing the condition.

Methods:

  • a randomised controlled trial in which we assigned 5804 men (n=2804) and women (n=3000) aged 70-82 years with a history of, or risk factors for, vascular disease to pravastatin (40 mg per day; n=2891) or placebo (n=2913). Baseline cholesterol concentrations ranged from 4.0 mmol/L to 9.0 mmol/L. Follow-up was 3.2 years on average and our primary endpoint was a composite of coronary death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and fatal or non-fatal stroke. Analysis was by intention-to-treat

Results:

  • pravastatin lowered LDL cholesterol concentrations by 34% and reduced the incidence of the primary endpoint to 408 events compared with 473 on placebo (hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI 0.74-0.97, p=0.014). Coronary heart disease death and non-fatal myocardial infarction risk was also reduced (0.81, 0.69-0.94, p=0.006). Stroke risk was unaffected (1.03, 0.81-1.31, p=0.8), but the hazard ratio for transient ischaemic attack was 0.75 (0.55-1.00, p=0.051). New cancer diagnoses were more frequent on pravastatin than on placebo (1.25, 1.04-1.51, p=0.020). However, incorporation of this finding in a meta-analysis of all pravastatin and all statin trials showed no overall increase in risk. Mortality from coronary disease fell by 24% (p=0.043) in the pravastatin group. Pravastatin had no significant effect on cognitive function or disability

This study provides evidence that older people aged between 70 and 82 years can reduce their risk of dying from coronary heart disease by almost a quarter and of having a myocardial infarction by almost one fifth through treatment with cholesterol lowering pravastatin for 3 years.

Reference:

  1. Pravastatin in elderly individuals at risk of vascular disease (PROSPER): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23;360(9346):1623-30.

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