European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 72, Issue 5, pp 513–521 | Cite as

Prevalence of statin-drug interactions in older people: a systematic review

  • Michele Thai
  • Emily Reeve
  • Sarah N Hilmer
  • Katie Qi
  • Sallie-Anne Pearson
  • Danijela Gnjidic



Statins are among the most frequently prescribed medications internationally. Older people are commonly prescribed multiple medications and are at an increased risk of drug-drug interactions, including statin-drug interactions. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of current evidence on the prevalence of statin-drug interactions in older people.


A systematic search of observational studies in Embase, Medline, and PubMed was conducted. Articles were included if they were published in English during the period July 2000–July 2014 and reported on the prevalence of statin-drug interactions in people over 65 years of age. Two reviewers independently assessed the articles for eligibility and extracted the data.


The search returned 1556 eligible articles. A total of 19 articles met the inclusion criteria. In studies (n = 7) that focused on statin users only, the prevalence of potential statin-drug interactions assessed using different measures ranged from 0.19 to 33.0 %. In studies that examined drug interactions across a population of both statin users and non-users (n = 12), the prevalence of potential statin-drug interactions ranged from 0.1 to 7.1 % (n = 8), and the prevalence of clinically relevant statin-drug interactions ranged from 1.5 to 4 % (n = 4).


Current published evidence suggests substantial variations in the prevalence of statin-drug interactions and their clinical relevance. Further studies are necessary to provide a better understanding of the prevalence of clinically significant statin-drug interactions, the medications most frequently contributing to statin-drug interactions, and impact on relevant clinical outcomes in older people.


Statins Drug-drug interactions Older people Prevalence 



Danijela Gnjidic is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Early Career Fellowship. Sallie-Anne Pearson is a Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellow. Emily Reeve is employed by the NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre which receives financial support from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and partners Alzheimer’s Australia and aged care providers HammondCare, HelpingHand, and Brightwater.

Author contributions

All authors contributed to conception and planning of the article. MT, ER, KQ, and DG contributed to manuscript acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of the data. All authors contributed to paper drafting, critical revision, and have approved the final version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Thai
    • 1
  • Emily Reeve
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
  • Sarah N Hilmer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Katie Qi
    • 1
  • Sallie-Anne Pearson
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Danijela Gnjidic
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of PharmacyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney Medical SchoolThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Kolling Institute of Medical ResearchRoyal North Shore HospitalSt LeonardsAustralia
  4. 4.School of Public HealthThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Centre for Big Data Research in HealthUNSW AustraliaSydneyAustralia

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