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      Hit or miss: the new cholesterol targets

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      BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine

      BMJ

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          Abstract

          Drug treatment to reduce cholesterol to new target levels is now recommended in four moderate- to high-risk patient populations: patients who have already sustained a cardiovascular event, adult diabetic patients, individuals with low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels ≥190 mg/dL and individuals with an estimated 10-year cardiovascular risk ≥7.5%. Achieving these cholesterol target levels did not confer any additional benefit in a systematic review of 35 randomised controlled trials. Recommending cholesterol lowering treatment based on estimated cardiovascular risk fails to identify many high-risk patients and may lead to unnecessary treatment of low-risk individuals. The negative results of numerous cholesterol lowering randomised controlled trials call into question the validity of using low density lipoprotein cholesterol as a surrogate target for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Rosuvastatin and cardiovascular events in patients undergoing hemodialysis.

          Statins reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in patients at high cardiovascular risk. However, a benefit of statins in such patients who are undergoing hemodialysis has not been proved. We conducted an international, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, prospective trial involving 2776 patients, 50 to 80 years of age, who were undergoing maintenance hemodialysis. We randomly assigned patients to receive rosuvastatin, 10 mg daily, or placebo. The combined primary end point was death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke. Secondary end points included death from all causes and individual cardiac and vascular events. After 3 months, the mean reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels was 43% in patients receiving rosuvastatin, from a mean baseline level of 100 mg per deciliter (2.6 mmol per liter). During a median follow-up period of 3.8 years, 396 patients in the rosuvastatin group and 408 patients in the placebo group reached the primary end point (9.2 and 9.5 events per 100 patient-years, respectively; hazard ratio for the combined end point in the rosuvastatin group vs. the placebo group, 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.11; P=0.59). Rosuvastatin had no effect on individual components of the primary end point. There was also no significant effect on all-cause mortality (13.5 vs. 14.0 events per 100 patient-years; hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.07; P=0.51). In patients undergoing hemodialysis, the initiation of treatment with rosuvastatin lowered the LDL cholesterol level but had no significant effect on the composite primary end point of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00240331.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Intensive lipid lowering with simvastatin and ezetimibe in aortic stenosis.

            Hyperlipidemia has been suggested as a risk factor for stenosis of the aortic valve, but lipid-lowering studies have had conflicting results. We conducted a randomized, double-blind trial involving 1873 patients with mild-to-moderate, asymptomatic aortic stenosis. The patients received either 40 mg of simvastatin plus 10 mg of ezetimibe or placebo daily. The primary outcome was a composite of major cardiovascular events, including death from cardiovascular causes, aortic-valve replacement, nonfatal myocardial infarction, hospitalization for unstable angina pectoris, heart failure, coronary-artery bypass grafting, percutaneous coronary intervention, and nonhemorrhagic stroke. Secondary outcomes were events related to aortic-valve stenosis and ischemic cardiovascular events. During a median follow-up of 52.2 months, the primary outcome occurred in 333 patients (35.3%) in the simvastatin-ezetimibe group and in 355 patients (38.2%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio in the simvastatin-ezetimibe group, 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83 to 1.12; P=0.59). Aortic-valve replacement was performed in 267 patients (28.3%) in the simvastatin-ezetimibe group and in 278 patients (29.9%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.18; P=0.97). Fewer patients had ischemic cardiovascular events in the simvastatin-ezetimibe group (148 patients) than in the placebo group (187 patients) (hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.97; P=0.02), mainly because of the smaller number of patients who underwent coronary-artery bypass grafting. Cancer occurred more frequently in the simvastatin-ezetimibe group (105 vs. 70, P=0.01). Simvastatin and ezetimibe did not reduce the composite outcome of combined aortic-valve events and ischemic events in patients with aortic stenosis. Such therapy reduced the incidence of ischemic cardiovascular events but not events related to aortic-valve stenosis. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00092677.) 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Effect of rosuvastatin in patients with chronic heart failure (the GISSI-HF trial): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

              Large observational studies, small prospective studies and post-hoc analyses of randomised clinical trials have suggested that statins could be beneficial in patients with chronic heart failure. However, previous studies have been methodologically weak. We investigated the efficacy and safety of the statin rosuvastatin in patients with heart failure. We undertook a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 326 cardiology and 31 internal medicine centres in Italy. We enrolled patients aged 18 years or older with chronic heart failure of New York Heart Association class II-IV, irrespective of cause and left ventricular ejection fraction, and randomly assigned them to rosuvastatin 10 mg daily (n=2285) or placebo (n=2289) by a concealed, computerised telephone randomisation system. Patients were followed up for a median of 3.9 years (IQR 3.0-4.4). Primary endpoints were time to death, and time to death or admission to hospital for cardiovascular reasons. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00336336. We analysed all randomised patients. 657 (29%) patients died from any cause in the rosuvastatin group and 644 (28%) in the placebo group (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.00 [95.5% CI 0.898-1.122], p=0.943). 1305 (57%) patients in the rosuvastatin group and 1283 (56%) in the placebo group died or were admitted to hospital for cardiovascular reasons (adjusted HR 1.01 [99% CI 0.908-1.112], p=0.903). In both groups, gastrointestinal disorders were the most frequent adverse reaction (34 [1%] rosuvastatin group vs 44 [2%] placebo group). Rosuvastatin 10 mg daily did not affect clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure of any cause, in whom the drug was safe.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine
                BMJ EBM
                BMJ
                2515-446X
                2515-4478
                August 03 2020
                : bmjebm-2020-111413
                Article
                10.1136/bmjebm-2020-111413
                © 2020

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