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Cardiol Rev. 2002 Mar-Apr;10(2):91-6.

The case for early statin therapy in acute coronary syndromes.

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  • 1Benjamin Franklin Medical Center, Free University, Berlin, Germany.


Three large secondary prevention studies have shown that, in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease, statin treatment reduces the risk of further events and lowers overall mortality. In these studies, total mortality was reduced by as much as 30% in high-risk groups and 22% in average-risk groups. However, these studies did not include patients immediately after the coronary event. There are many benefits to early intervention with statin therapy in patients with acute coronary syndromes, including reduction of the risk of a subsequent event, which is highest immediately after the index event. Early treatment may reduce this likelihood in the first months after a coronary event by stabilizing atherosclerotic plaques and improving endothelial function in addition to lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. This article reviews the case for early statin therapy in patients with a history of coronary heart disease. Results of clinical studies have now shown early statin therapy to be safe and cost-effective in reducing in-hospital and 6-month mortality.

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