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Am J Cardiol. 2002 Oct 1;90(7):689-96.

Effects of atorvastatin on fasting and postprandial lipoprotein subclasses in coronary heart disease patients versus control subjects.

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Atherosclerosis Research Laboratory, Lipid and Heart Disease Prevention Clinic, Department of Medicine, New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The effects of atorvastatin at 20, 40, and 80 mg/day on plasma lipoprotein subclasses were examined in a randomized, placebo-controlled fashion over 24 weeks in 103 patients in the fasting state who had coronary heart disease (CHD) with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels >130 mg/dl. The effects of placebo and atorvastatin 40 mg/day were examined in 88 subjects with CHD in the fasting state and 4 hours after a meal rich in saturated fat and cholesterol. These findings were compared with results in 88 age- and gender-matched control subjects. Treatment at the 20, 40, and 80 mg/day dose levels resulted in LDL cholesterol reductions of 38%, 46%, and 52% (all p <0.0001), triglyceride reductions of 22%, 26%, and 30% (all p <0.0001), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increases of 6%, 5%, and 3%, respectively (all p <0.05 at the 20- and 40-mg doses). The lowest total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio was observed with the 80 mg/day dose of atorvastatin (p <0.0001 vs placebo). Remnant-like particle (RLP) cholesterol decreased 33%, 34%, and 32%, respectively (all p <0.0001). Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] cholesterol decreased 9%, 16%, and 21% (all p <0.0001), although Lp(a) mass increased 9%, 8%, and 10%, respectively (all p <0.01). In the fed state, atorvastatin 40 mg/day normalized direct LDL cholesterol (29% below controls), triglycerides (8% above controls), and RLP cholesterol (10% below controls), with similar reductions in the fasting state. At this same dose level, atorvastatin treatment resulted in 39%, 35%, and 59% decreases in fasting triglyceride in large, medium, and small very LDLs, as well as 45%, 33%, and 47% reductions in cholesterol in large, medium, and small LDL, respectively, as assessed by nuclear magnetic resonance (all significant, p <0.05), normalizing these particles versus controls (77 cases vs 77 controls). Moreover, cholesterol in large HDL was increased 37% (p <0.001) by this treatment. Our data indicate that atorvastatin treatment normalizes levels of all classes of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and LDL in both the fasting and fed states in patients with CHD compared with control subjects.

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