Hypercholesterolemic patients (n = 1,547) at high atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels ≥100 and ≤160 mg/dl while treated with atorvastatin 10 mg/day entered a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, clinical trial using two 6-week study periods. Period I compared the efficacy/safety of (1) adding ezetimibe 10 mg (ezetimibe) to stable atorvastatin 10 mg, (2) doubling atorvastatin to 20 mg, or (3) switching to rosuvastatin 10 mg. Subjects in the latter 2 groups who persisted with elevated LDL-C levels (≥100 and ≤160 mg/dl) after period I, entered period II; subjects on atorvastatin 20 mg had ezetimibe added to their atorvastatin 20 mg, or uptitrated their atorvastatin to 40 mg; subjects on rosuvastatin 10 mg switched to atorvastatin 20 mg plus ezetimibe or uptitrated their rosuvastatin to 20 mg. Some subjects on atorvastatin 10 mg plus ezetimibe continued the same treatment into period II. At the end of period I, ezetimibe plus atorvastatin 10 mg reduced LDL-C significantly more than atorvastatin 20 mg or rosuvastatin 10 mg (22.2% vs 9.5% or 13.0%, respectively, p <0.001). At the end of period II, ezetimibe plus atorvastatin 20 mg reduced LDL-C significantly more than atorvastatin 40 mg (17.4% vs 6.9%, p <0.001); switching from rosuvastatin 10 mg to ezetimibe plus atorvastatin 20 mg reduced LDL-C significantly more than uptitrating to rosuvastatin 20 mg (17.1% vs 7.5%, p <0.001). Relative to comparative treatments, ezetimibe added to atorvastatin 10 mg (period I) or atorvastatin 20 mg (period II) produced significantly greater percent attainment of LDL-C targets <100 or <70 mg/dl, and significantly greater percent reductions in total cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, most lipid and lipoprotein ratios, and apolipoprotein B (except ezetimibe plus atorvastatin 20 vs atorvastatin 40 mg). Reports of adverse experiences were generally similar among groups. In conclusion, treatment of hypercholesterolemic subjects at high cardiovascular risk with ezetimibe added to atorvastatin 10 or 20 mg produced significantly greater improvements in key lipid parameters and significantly greater attainment of LDL-C treatment targets than doubling atorvastatin or switching to (or doubling) rosuvastatin at the compared doses.