(HealthDay)—Statin use is associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality in older male physicians, and a non-significant lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, according to a study published online Sept. 11 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Ariela R. Orkaby, M.D., from the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology and Research Information Center in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from a prospective cohort of participants in the Physicians' Health Study (7,213 male physicians ≥70 years without a history of CVD) over a median of seven years of follow-up. Non-statin users were propensity matched to 1,130 statin users.

The researchers found that over the study period statin use was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.82; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.69 to 0.98) and non-significantly lower risk of CVD events (HR, 0.86; 95 percent CI, 0.70 to 1.06) and stroke (HR, 0.70; 95 percent CI, 0.45 to 1.09). Results did not change according to age group at baseline (70 to 76 years or >76 years) or functional status. For those with elevated cholesterol, users had fewer major CVD events than non-users (HRs, 0.68 [95 percent CI, 0.50 to 0.94] and 1.43 [95 percent CI, 0.99 to 2.07], respectively).

"Further work is needed to determine which older individuals will benefit from statins as primary prevention," the authors write.

Several authors report financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.