Wednesday, 18 November 2015

SPHPM welcomes the official start of our STAREE trial

SPHPM welcomes the news that this month the first participant will be randomised in the STAtins in reducing events in the elderly (STAREE) trial, signalling the official start of the STAREE trial.

In July this year, SPHPM launched the world’s largest study to investigate whether statin treatment prolongs good health and maintains independence among healthy individuals aged 70 years and over.

The study is being led by Principal Investigator Professor Sophia Zoungas and is a collaboration between Monash University, The Menzies Research Institute (The University of Tasmania), Australian National University, University of Western Australia and Curtin University.

While participant visits and data collection are undertaken by the STAREE research staff, 84 General Practitioner co-investigators have been recruited, with a whopping 75 GP's signing up from Tasmania.

So far 2844 patient invitation letters have been mailed out, with 107 potential participants successfully phone screened.

The trial has an almost three per cent conversion success rate from patient invitation to successful phone screening and the first baseline visit was successfully carried out on October 12 2015.

It is not yet known if the benefits of statin therapy outweigh the risks for healthy older people, and so the trial hopes to determine whether older people should take statins to maintain good health and independence.

Statins (referred to as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) are a specific class of drugs that assist in lowering circulating low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by blocking an enzyme in the liver that is essential in cholesterol synthesis.

Research indicates that by reducing cholesterol, statins prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with a history of cardiovascular disease. Statin use in Australia in people over the age of 65 is 40 per cent.

Recent clinical guidelines from the United States and United Kingdom advise that statins should also be utilised by those at increased risk of a cardiovascular disease, including healthy people aged 75 and above as a primary preventive measure.

STAREE will give clinicians evidence-based information to guide prescribing behaviour and address the 'over-prescribing' debate and will provide information about ways we can keep older Australians healthy and living happy, productive and independent lives in the community.

STAREE is a public good will trial that is community based and that is not pharmaceutically sponsored. Funding for STAREE has been provided by the NHMRC. The project has been awarded with the largest single project grant by the NHMRC.

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