​Marshfield Clinic Research Institute is participating in a new research study called PREVENTABLE (Pragmatic Evaluation of Events and Benefits of Lipid-Lowering in Older Adults). This study will investigate whether taking atorvastatin, a drug commonly used to lower cholesterol (also called Lipitor®), can help older adults aged 75 and over prevent dementia, disability and heart disease.

PREVENTABLE is one of the largest pragmatic trials ever conducted in older adults, and will include more than 20,000 participants from 100 sites acros​s the U.S., including Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. Participants without heart disease or dementia will be randomly assigned to receive either atorvastatin or placebo. Researchers will then follow participants for up to five years using electronic health records, Medicare data and study visits over the phone to test their thinking, physical abilities and monitor for future events such as heart attacks or strokes. Individuals can participate in PREVENTABLE virtually, and are not required to come to Marshfield Medical Center (medical offices).

“PREVENTABLE is a remarkable study for many reasons," said Research Institute site investigator Jeffrey VanWormer, Ph.D. “Statins have long been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, but there is little prior research in elderly populations."

Research Institute co-investigator Karen Shulman, M.D., added, “PREVENTABLE is special because it will help us learn whether statins are helpful for older patients, both for the prevention of heart disease and dementia."

In the U.S., about one in three adults over the age of 75 without heart disease take a statin. So in addition to learning whether statins can prolong health in older adults, the PREVENTABLE study will help clarify which older adults should not be taking statins.

“Patients often ask me what they can do to stay healthy and prevent dementia." said Karen Alexander, M.D., a geriatric cardiologist at Duke University Medical Center and Principal Investigator for PREVENTABLE. “This study will help to clarify the benefit of statins for this population. This is important to do before adding one more medication to the list of medicines older adults are often already taking. Results from this study will help us provide valuable answers to improve how we age."

PREVENTABLE is funded by the National Institute of Aging and the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. To learn more about the PREVENTABLE trial and why it is important to older adults, visit this video or www.preventabletrial.org. Marshfield Clinic Health System patients who appear to be eligible for PREVENTABLE will receive invitations from the study team over the coming months.