Older Australians aren’t taking their statins consistently, new research has found

Researchers from Monash University examined 22,340 adults aged 65 and over who started taking statins between 2014 and 2015.

They then estimated the first-year nonadherence (proportion of days covered [PDC] <0.80) and discontinuation (≥90 days without statin coverage) rates.

“Predictors of nonadherence and discontinuation were examined via multivariable logistic regression,” they write in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

“Analyses were performed separately for general beneficiaries (with a higher co‐payment; n=4,841) and concessional beneficiaries (with a lower co‐payment; n=17,499).”

At a one-year follow-up, 55.1% of the patients were not compliant with their statins regime – 52.6% of the concessional patients, and 64.2% of the general beneficiaries.

And 44.7% had discontinued statins (concessional 43.1%; general beneficiaries 50.4%).

“Among concessional beneficiaries, those aged 75‐84 years and 85 years were more likely to discontinue than people aged 65‐74 years, (odds ratio 1.11, 95% confidence interval 1.04‐1.19 and 1.38, 1.23‐1.54, respectively).”

Those with diabetes were more likely to discontinue the therapy or take it inconsistently, while hypertension, angina and congestive heart failure were associated with a lower likelihood of nonadherence and discontinuation.

“Anxiety was associated with an increased likelihood of discontinuation but polypharmacy (concurrent use of ≥5 drugs) was associated with a lower likelihood of nonadherence and discontinuation,” the authors write.

“Statin initiation by a general medical practitioner was associated with both increased likelihood of nonadherence and discontinuation. Similar predictors of nonadherence and discontinuation were identified for the general beneficiaries.”

“The study findings highlight the need for interventions to improve statin use among older adults—in order that the benefits of statins can be realized—and recognition that certain sub-groups of people may require additional attention,” said senior author Professor Danny Liew, of Monash University, in Australia.