Background: Hyperlipidemia is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Reducing low density lipoprotein-cholesterol can significantly reduce the risk of CHD, but many patients fail to reach the target LDL-C goals due to low doses of statins or low compliance.
Objectives: To treat high risk patients with atorvastatin in order to reach LDL-C goals (either primary or secondary prevention) of the Israel Atherosclerosis Society.
Methods: In this open-label study of 3,276 patients (1,698 of whom were males, 52%), atorvastatin 10 mg was given as a first dose, with follow-up and adjustment of the dose every 6 weeks. While 1,670 patients did not receive prior hypolipidemic treatment, 1,606 were treated with other statins, fibrates or the combination of both.
Results: After 6 weeks of treatment, 70% of the patients who did not receive prior hypolipidemic medications and who needed primary prevention reached target LDL-C levels. Interestingly, a similar number of patients on prior hypolipidemic treatment reached the LDL-C goals for primary prevention. The patients treated with other statins, fibrates or both did not reach the LDL-C treatment goals. Only 34% of all patients who needed secondary prevention reached the ISA LDL-C target of 100 mg/dl. Atorvastatin proved to be completely safe; only two patients had creatine kinase elevation above 500 U/L, and another six had mild CK elevation (<500 U/L). None of the patients had clinical myopathy, and only one had to be withdrawn from the study.
Conclusion: Atorvastatin is a safe and effective drug that enables most patients requiring primary prevention to reach LDL-C goal levels, even with a low dose of 10 mg. Patients in need of secondary prevention usually require higher doses of statins.