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Stroke. 1993 Dec;24(12):1779-83.

One-year reduction and longitudinal analysis of carotid intima-media thickness associated with colestipol/niacin therapy.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033.



The Cholesterol Lowering Atherosclerosis Study has reported significant reduction of coronary artery disease and of carotid arterial intima-media thickness (IMT) at 2 and 4 years with colestipol/niacin therapy. We now report on treatment effects on carotid IMT at 6 months and 1 year.


One hundred eighty-eight nonsmoking men, aged 40 to 59 years, with prior coronary artery bypass graft surgery were randomized to colestipol/niacin plus diet therapy or placebo plus diet therapy. Computerized image processing of carotid ultrasound films was used to measure IMT in the right common carotid artery. Treatment group comparisons were made at 6 months and 1 year (46 and 33 subjects, respectively, with baseline and 6-month or 1-year ultrasound measures). The time course of the treatment effect on carotid IMT was estimated using the complete sample of 78 subjects with baseline and on-trial data.


No significant treatment group differences on carotid IMT were found at 6 months. At 1 year, the treated group showed significant reduction of carotid IMT (P = .01 between groups). The placebo group showed continuing progression of IMT during the 4-year study period (estimated progression rate, 0.018 mm/y). The treated group showed reduction of IMT during the first 3 years and a plateau during the remainder of the study.


Reduction of carotid IMT was found with aggressive lipid-lowering therapy. Ultrasound measures of IMT offer a noninvasive and precise measure of early carotid atherosclerosis that will decrease sample size requirements, potentially decrease dropout rates, and widen the study population of antiatherosclerotic clinical trials.

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