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Z Kardiol. 2005;94 Suppl 3:III/92-9.

[Primary prevention of coronary heart disease? What is cost effective in the clinical practice?].

[Article in German]


In the primary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD), the effect of aspirin and statins is well documented in several controlled randomized trials. For aspirin the results can be transferred into clinical practice due to its low price; for the more expensive statins, however, serious economic problems exist. In contrast to secondary prevention these drugs do not reach cost-efficiency in primary prevention; due to their high prices for the criteria of the randomized controlled studies values >60 000 or >100 000 [US dollars/YLS] are gained. Data from England and Scotland indicate that according to the inclusion criteria of the WOSCOPS- and AFCAPS/TexCAPS studies almost 20 and 60%, respectively, of the adult population had to be treated with a statin. Results of newer studies may even increase these numbers. These costs cannot be covered by any health care system. Primary prevention of CHD with statins reveals paradigmatically that for financial reasons evidence-based medicine can no longer be transferred into clinical practice. The limited resources of all health care systems make rationing with treatment allocation only to the high risk groups necessary. The American, European and German guidelines propose a > or =2% annual risk of CHD as the limit, for financial reasons the Britisch recommendations favor a limit of 3%; in order to save >50% of the costs. Despite the financial restraints of the German health care system, the limit of > or =2% annual risk of CHD as proposed by the German Cardiac Society may be realistic when the different preventive measures are applied following a step-by-step plan based on the costs. According to the Procam algorithms, persons without diabetes mellitus or familiar disposition, who in case of nicotine abuse have given up smoking and if hypertensive have blood pressure values within the therapeutic range, statins are only to be given under the following conditions: LDL-cholesterol > or =175 or > or =190 mg/dl, for a HDL-cholesterol < or =35 or < or =45 mg/dl, or triglyceride levels > or =200 or > or =175 mg/dl, respectively. Diabetics without CHD have the same risk as non-diabetics with CHD. Therefore, in diabetics the same measures should be taken for primary prevention as in non-diabetics for secondary prevention. Evaluation of cost-efficiency indicates that intensive blood sugar control as well as intensive antihypertensive treatment and application of statins are all cost-effective in primary prevention of diabetics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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