The PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER) is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial designed to test the hypothesis that treatment with pravastatin will diminish risk of: subsequent major vascular events in a cohort of men and women (70 to 82 years old) with preexisting vascular disease or significant risk of developing this condition. Five thousand eight hundred four men and women in addition to receiving advice on diet and smoking, have been randomized equally to treatment with 40 mg pravastatin/day or matching placebo in 3 centers (Cork, Ireland, Glasgow, Scotland, and Leiden, The Netherlands). Following an average 3.5-year intervention period, a primary assessment will be made of the influence of this therapy on major vascular events (a combination of coronary heart disease, death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and fatal and nonfatal stroke). A number of additional analyses will also be conducted on the individual components of the primary end point, on men, on women, and on subjects with and without previous evidence of vascular disease. Finally, an assessment will be made of the effects of treatment on cognitive function, disability, hospitalization or institutionalization, vascular mortality, and all-cause mortality. (C) 1999 by Excerpta Medica, inc.