The safety and efficacy of achieving very low LDL-cholesterol concentrations with high dose statin therapy.Curr Opin Lipidol 2006; 17(6):626-30CO
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
The benefits of lipid lowering with statins are established in patients with or at risk for coronary artery disease. Recent trials with high doses of potent statins have examined treating to very low levels of LDL-cholesterol. Concerns have been raised about the safety of this strategy. This review examines the safety and efficacy of treating to very low LDL-cholesterol.
Four clinical trials, Treating to New Targets (TNT) and Incremental Decrease in End Points Through Aggressive Lipid Lowering (IDEAL) in stable coronary artery disease and Aggrastat to Zocor (A to Z) and Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy (PROVE IT)-TIMI 22 following acute coronary syndromes, have examined intensive statin therapy compared to moderate statin therapy. These trials and a meta-analysis demonstrated that intensive statin therapy reduces cardiovascular events. Subsequent analyses from these trials suggest that very low levels of LDL-cholesterol can be achieved safely and may improve clinical outcomes. A note of caution regarding hemorrhagic events following stroke with intensive statin therapy was raised by the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction of Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) trial despite impressive reductions in cardiovascular events.
A growing body of evidence suggests progressive benefit for lowering LDL-cholesterol aggressively with intensive statin therapy in coronary artery disease. Future trials will be needed to define whether there is a level of LDL-cholesterol beyond which further benefit is not seen or safety concerns emerge.