NYU Langone Medical Center researchers looked at 2,867 healthy older adults who were taking statins and found no evidence to suggest they were living any longer as a result, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Statins are sold under the generic name Pravastatin and under brand names such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor.
“Our study argues that the benefits of initiating statins in older patients, particularly those over 75, may not outweigh the risks,” said lead author Dr. Benjamin Han.
Potential side effects of statins include muscle pain, liver damage and increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“As the number of older adults in the United States is rapidly increasing, it is more important than ever that we improve our understanding of preventative interventions in aging patients, and the possible side effects and risks that accompany them,” Han said.
Reps for the makers of Lipitor and Zocor could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.
A spokeswoman for Crestor’s maker AstraZeneca said: “The safety and efficiency of Crestor has been well established in more than 120 ongoing or completed clinical trials involving more than 67,000 patients worldwide over the past 13 years.”