IMPORTANCE: For patients with limited prognosis, some medication risks may outweigh the benefits, particularly when benefits take years to accrue; statins are one example. Data are lacking regarding the risks and benefits of discontinuing statin therapy for patients with limited life expectancy.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety, clinical, and cost impact of discontinuing statin medications for patients in the palliative care setting.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This was a multicenter, parallel-group, unblinded, pragmatic clinical trial. Eligibility included adults with an estimated life expectancy of between 1 month and 1 year, statin therapy for 3 months or more for primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, recent deterioration in functional status, and no recent active cardiovascular disease. Participants were randomized to either discontinue or continue statin therapy and were monitored monthly for up to 1 year. The study was conducted from June 3, 2011, to May 2, 2013. All analyses were performed using an intent-to-treat approach.
INTERVENTIONS: Statin therapy was withdrawn from eligible patients who were randomized to the discontinuation group. Patients in the continuation group continued to receive statins.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Outcomes included death within 60 days (primary outcome), survival, cardiovascular events, performance status, quality of life (QOL), symptoms, number of nonstatin medications, and cost savings.
Data set creation code, protocol, statistical report
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