A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that a class of medications used for high cholesterol known as statins, may be discontinued in patients who are terminally ill and/or approaching the end of life. The multi-centered, randomized clinical trial involved a statin continuation and a discontinuation group. It lasted approximately 2 years and included 381 participants with life expectancies ranging from 1 month to 1 year. The change in 60-day mortality rates between both groups was not significant. Furthermore, in the statin discontinuation group compared to the continuation group, quality-of-life (QOL) was significantly greater and a cost savings of $3.37/year and $716/patient was achieved. Although their findings support the safe discontinuation of statins, the investigators believe additional studies and patient-provider discussions in this regard are needed. How often do you counsel terminally ill patients? What are your thoughts about the conclusions of this research?
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