Pravastatin experience in elderly and non-elderly patients

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      Epidemiologic evidence linking elevated cholesterol concentrations and coronary heart disease (CHD) through the eighth decade of life provides a rationale for lowering cholesterol concentrations to reduce morbidity and mortality from CHD. Pravastatin, a well tolerated HMG CoA reductase inhibitor with a convenient once-daily dosing regimen, has been shown to effectively lower total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Individual data from more than 1800 hypercholesterolemic patients enrolled in six double-blind, randomized, multicenter studies were pooled and then analyzed to compare the safety and efficacy of pravastatin in the elderly (i.e., patients at least 65 years old) and the non-elderly. In short-term studies (8–16 weeks), response was dose-related and similar in elderly and non-elderly subjects. Pravastatin 20 or 40 mg daily lowered total cholesterol 19–25%, LDL-cholesterol 25–33%, and triglycerides 14–23%; high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increased 5–10%. During long-term studies, improvements were sustained for more than 24 months in both the non-elderly and elderly. The incidences of adverse drug events and laboratory abnormalities were similar in the elderly and non-elderly patients in all groups (active treatment control with resin, pravastatin alone, or combination therapy). In short-term studies, treatment was discontinued because of adverse events in < 1% of all patients treated with pravastatin (all doses) or placebo. The frequency and profile of adverse events were similar among patients treated with pravastatin or placebo. In long-term studies, treatment was discontinued in 0.4% of patients in the pravastatin group and in 0.3% of the patients in the bile-acid-binding resin group. If drug therapy is warranted, pravastatin appears to be safe and effective for long-term use in elderly patients with hypercholesterolemia.


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