Prevalent Statin Use in Long-Stay Nursing Home Residents with Life-Limiting Illness

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; Clinical and Population Health Research Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Geriatrics | Health Services Administration | Pharmaceutical Preparations | Therapeutics | Translational Medical Research


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the prevalence and factors associated with statin pharmacotherapy in long-stay nursing home residents with life-limiting illness.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional.

SETTING: US Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home facilities.

PARTICIPANTS: Long-stay nursing home resident Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years or older with life-limiting illness (n = 424 212).

MEASUREMENTS: Prevalent statin use was estimated as any low-moderate intensity (daily dose low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol [LDL-C] reduction < 30%-50%) and high-intensity (daily dose LDL-C reduction > 50%) use via Medicare Part D claims for a prescription supply on September 30, 2016, with a 90-day look-back period. Life-limiting illness was operationally defined to capture those near the end of life using evidence-based criteria to identify progressive terminal conditions or limited prognoses ( < 6 mo). Poisson models provided estimates of adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals for resident factors.

RESULTS: A total of 34% of residents with life-limiting illness were prescribed statins (65-75 y = 44.0%, high intensity = 11.1%; > 75 y = 31.1%, high intensity = 5.4%). Prevalence of statins varied by life-limiting illness definition. Of those with a prognosis of less than 6 months, 23% of the 65 to 75 and 12% of the older than 75 age groups were on statins. Factors positively associated with statin use included minority race or ethnicity, use of more than five concurrent medications, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or risk factors.

CONCLUSION: Despite having a life-limiting illness, more than one-third of clinically compromised long-stay nursing home residents remain on statins. Although recent national guidelines have expanded indications for statins, the benefit of continued therapy in an advanced age population near the end of life is questionable. Efforts to deprescribe statins in the nursing home setting may be warranted.


end of life, nursing homes, pharmacotherapy, statins, UMCCTS funding

DOI of Published Version



Mack DS, Tjia J, Hume AL, Lapane KL. Prevalent Statin Use in Long-Stay Nursing Home Residents with Life-Limiting Illness. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Feb 14:10.1111/jgs.16336. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16336. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32057091. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID