Older patients lose out on statin scrips

GPs are under-prescribing statins to elderly patients and also to ethnic minorities despite the emphasis on statin use, according to UK research.

An analysis of the 2004/5 GMS quality data for England revealed that practices with a higher proportion of patients  who were aged over 75 prescribed less statins.

They also found that practices with higher proportions of patients from Afro-Caribbean or south Asian ethnicity had lower volumes of statin prescribing.

West London GP Sarah Jarvis, member of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said: ‘It doesn’t appear that the GMS contract has made a lot of difference to statin prescribing. I suspect that it’s going to take time for NICE and JBS2 guidance to filter through.

‘One of the biggest problems with the elderly is confusion as to the age to which benefit extends. The Framingham risk calculator doesn’t extend beyond the age of 74, and the age a patient should stop statins is one of the most frequently asked questions.’

Language barriers and anxieties about statin safety in south Asians may all help to explain lower use in this group, she said.

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