PROSPER - The PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk

Published: 19 November 2002

A leading team of international scientists announce results of PROSPER study yesterday, 18 November 2002, in Chicago.

The PROSPER study was undertaken by a team of leading international scientists from the Universities of Glasgow, Cork and Leiden, Netherlands.

It was designed to examine the hypothesis that Pravastatin will reduce heart attack and stroke events in elderly subjects with existing vascular disease or at high risk of developing the condition.

Professor Jim Shepherd of the University of Glasgow represented the team in presenting their findings on behalf of PROSPER study at the American Heart Association Conference yesterday, Monday 18 November 2002, in Chicago.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the elderly and is also a major contributor to cognitive decline and dementia, both important public health issues for elderly care. While the benefits of statin therapy in reducing cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke in middleヨage are already recognised, its value for the over ヨ70's age group had never been closely scrutinised before.

This PROSPER study has been the first designed to assess the potential effects of a statin in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and their consequences in a population of patients aged 70 and older at high risk. It showed that the benefit of therapy with Pravastatin that was previously observed in middle-aged people could also be extended to an older population.

Taking the results of the PROSPER study into consideration, Professor Shepherd commented, 'PROSPER shows that current vascular risk management strategies for the middle aged can confidently be extended to the elderly who currently represent the largest group of undertreated individuals in our community. PROSPER therefore represents good news for our senior citizens.'

Further information

The research involved nearly 6000 men and women aged 70 to 82, over 3000 of whom had an existing blood vessel disease and over 2500 at high risk of that condition due to smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes. They were randomised to receive the cholesterol-lowering drug, Pravastatin or a placebo.

The PROSPER study results show that treatment with Pravastatin results in a 15% relative risk reduction in the combined primary endpoint of death from coronary heart disease, non-fatal heart attack, or fatal or non-fatal stroke.

Results also demonstrate that Pravastatin significantly reduces coronary events by 19% and deaths associated with coronary events by 24%.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, USA, has sponsored the trials.

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Principal Investigators

Professor James Shepherd, Head of Pathological Biochemistry, University of Glasgow

Professor Michael B Murphy, University College, Cork, Ireland

Dr Gerard J. Blauw, Leiden Medical University Centre, The Netherlands

The American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2002 will take place from November 17th - 19th in Chicago.

Presentations featuring a video link to the US meeting are scheduled to be held in Manchester, London and Glasgow.

Dr. Allan Gaw will be hosting the Glasgow part of the presentations and will be available for interview through the University Press Office (0141 330 3535) on Tuesday.

First published: 19 November 2002