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Prevalence of Potential and Clinically Relevant Statin–Drug Interactions in Frail and Robust Older Inpatients



A significant proportion of older people are prescribed statins and are also exposed to polypharmacy, placing them at increased risk of statin–drug interactions.


To describe the prevalence rates of potential and clinically relevant statin–drug interactions in older inpatients according to frailty status.


A cross-sectional study of patients aged ≥65 years who were prescribed a statin and were admitted to a teaching hospital between 30 July and 10 October 2014 in Sydney, Australia, was conducted. Data on socio-demographics, comorbidities and medications were collected using a standardized questionnaire. Potential statin–drug interactions were defined if listed in the Australian Medicines Handbook and three international drug information sources: the British National Formulary, Drug Interaction Facts and Drug-Reax®. Clinically relevant statin–drug interactions were defined as interactions with the highest severity rating in at least two of the three international drug information sources. Frailty was assessed using the Reported Edmonton Frail Scale.


A total of 180 participants were recruited (median age 78 years, interquartile range 14), 35.0 % frail and 65.0 % robust. Potential statin–drug interactions were identified in 10 % of participants, 12.7 % of frail participants and 8.5 % of robust participants. Clinically relevant statin–drug interactions were identified in 7.8 % of participants, 9.5 % of frail participants and 6.8 % of robust participants. Depending on the drug information source used, the prevalence rates of potential and clinically relevant statin–drug interactions ranged between 14.4 and 35.6 % and between 14.4 and 20.6 %, respectively.


In our study of frail and robust older inpatients taking statins, the overall prevalence of potential statin–drug interactions was low and varied significantly according to the drug information source used.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Jillian Patterson (Data Analyst, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Northern Clinical School, Sydney, NSW, Australia) for her assistance in the statistical analysis, and Katie Qi (Pharmacy Honours Student, Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia) for her assistance with data collection. Danijela Gnjidic is supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Early Career Fellowship. Sallie-Anne Pearson is a Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellow.

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Correspondence to Danijela Gnjidic.

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Thai, M., Hilmer, S., Pearson, SA. et al. Prevalence of Potential and Clinically Relevant Statin–Drug Interactions in Frail and Robust Older Inpatients. Drugs Aging 32, 849–856 (2015).

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  • Statin
  • Drug Interaction
  • Simvastatin
  • Rosuvastatin
  • British National Formulary