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Curr Opin Lipidol. 2004 Dec;15(6):637-43.

Intensive statin therapy in acute coronary syndromes: clinical benefits and vascular biology.

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  • 1TIMI Study Group, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



The results of a landmark clinical study comparing intensive statin therapy with conventional statin therapy, in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), are reviewed. The mechanisms behind these results are analysed drawing data from vascular and cell biology.


The Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (PROVE IT-TIMI 22) study showed that intensive statin therapy with 80 mg of atorvastatin to achieve a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol of 62 mg/dl resulted in a 3.9% absolute and a 16% relative risk reduction in death or major cardiovascular events up to 2 years, compared to 40 mg of pravastatin, in patients with ACS. The results were especially significant as intensive statin therapy resulted in a very early benefit (<30 days) and occurred against a background of percutaneous coronary intervention (69%) for the index admission and high use of medications for secondary prevention. The PROVE IT and the Myocardial Ischaemia Reduction with Aggressive Cholesterol Lowering (MIRACL) C-reactive protein sub-study also showed that atorvastatin (80 mg) resulted in a significant reduction in markers of inflammation, whilst the Reversal of Atherosclerosis with Aggressive Lipid Lowering (REVERSAL) study showed that intensive statin therapy was associated with reduced progression of atherosclerosis compared with conventional doses of statins.


Intensive statin therapy results in a significant early reduction in adverse cardiac events in ACS patients which are sustained over 2 years. The early benefits seen are likely to result from modulation of inflammation, endothelial function and coagulation, i.e. the pleiotropic effects, whereas the greater reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol results in reduced long-term events.

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