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Cardiovascular disease drugs should be used more

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Drugs to prevent cardiovascular disease could be used far more widely in order to help prolong the healthy lives of older people, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

Scientists from the universities of Birmingham and Oxford analysed the use of statins and anti-hypertensives, which are normally administered to combat cholesterol and high blood pressure, and found that use of the former declined after the age of 75 and the latter after the age of 85.

However, researchers believe that such medication can help to increase life expectancy and improve quality of life and June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, thinks the drugs should be considered in more cases.

“The older population is increasing, and doctors should consider how prescribing drugs to prevent cardiovascular disease could help reduce disability and increase life expectancy in this group,” she said.

“Available evidence would suggest that older people can benefit from heart protective drugs, but more research is needed.

“Sometimes there are good reasons for not prescribing certain medicines. An older person may be more vulnerable to particular side-effects, or already be on multiple medicines for other health conditions, meaning it isn’t always appropriate to prescribe additional medicines.”

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