"There was no apparent safety concern for patients whose resultant LDL on intensive therapy was lower than current guidelines. There was a trend toward improved clinical outcomes in the lowest LDL groups," said Stephen D. Wiviott, M.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
The researchers used data from a large trial comparing two cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in patients following acute coronary syndromes, such as unstable angina or heart attacks, the Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection TherapyThrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction 22 (PROVE IT-TIMI 22) study. This new analysis involved 1,825 heart patients who had received high doses (80 milligrams per day) of atorvastatin. More than 90 percent of the patients had LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the so-called "bad" cholesterol) levels below the target level of 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood after four months of therapy. Some patients saw their LDL levels drop below 40 mg/dl.
Dr. Wiviott said that they reviewed this data from PROVE IT because some studies have suggested an association between very low levels of cholesterol and higher rates of death, strokes caused by bleeding, and other health issues. Rather than assessing the safety of statin treatment itself, this analysis looked at the effects of various levels of LDL by comparing the results for patients who were all taking the same high doses of atorvastatin.
"While the main results of the trial demonstrated that intensive statin therapy is superior to moderate statin therapy in patients following acute coronary syndromes, there has been concern among the medical community about treating patients with very high doses of potent statins. This stems largely from the epide
Contact: Amy Murphy
American College of Cardiology