Importance: Polypharmacy is a major health concern among older adults. While deprescribing may reduce inappropriate medicine use, its effect on clinical end points remains uncertain. Objective: To assess the clinical implications of discontinuing the use of statins while maintaining other drugs in a cohort of older patients receiving polypharmacy. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective, population-based cohort study included the 29047 residents in the Italian Lombardy region aged 65 years or older who were receiving uninterrupted treatment with statins, blood pressure-lowering, antidiabetic, and antiplatelet agents from October 1, 2013, until January 31, 2015, with follow-up through June 30, 2018. Data were collected using the health care utilization database of Lombardy region in Italy. Data analysis was conducted from March to November 2020. Exposures: Cohort members were followed up to identify those who discontinued statins. Among this group, those who maintained other therapies during the first 6 months after statin discontinuation were 1:1 propensity score matched with patients who discontinued neither statins nor other drugs. Main Outcome and Measures: The pairs of patients discontinuing and maintaining statins were followed up from the initial discontinuation until June 30, 2018, to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs for fatal and nonfatal outcomes associated with statin discontinuation. Results: The full cohort inclued 29047 patients exposed to polypharmacy (mean [SD] age, 76.5 [6.5] years; 18257 [62.9%] men). Of them, 5819 (20.0%) discontinued statins while maintaining other medications, and 4010 (68.9%) of them were matched with a comparator. In the discontinuing group, the mean (SD) age was 76.5 (6.4) years, 2405 (60.0%) were men, and 506 (12.6%) had Multisource Comorbidity Scores of 4 or 5. In the maintaining group, the mean (SD) age was 76.1 (6.3) years, 2474 (61.7%) were men, and 482 (12.0%) had multisource comorbidity scores of 4 or 5. Compared with the maintaining group, patients in the discontinuing group had increased risk of hospital admissions for heart failure (HR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.07-1.43) and any cardiovascular outcome (HR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.03-1.26), deaths from any cause (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.02-1.30), and emergency admissions for any cause (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.05-1.19). Conclusions and Relevance: In this study of patients receiving polypharmacy, discontinuing statins while maintaining other drug therapies was associated with an increase in the long-term risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular outcomes..
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