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Prev Cardiol. 2007 Winter;10(1):31-5.

Optimal treatment of dyslipidemia in high-risk patients: intensive statin treatment or combination therapy?

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University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


A recent update to the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines suggests low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goals of <70 mg/dL in very-high-risk patients and <100 mg/dL in high-risk patients. Currently available 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) are not equal in their ability to lower LDL-C, and it is unlikely that the substantial LDL-C reductions that are often needed in high-risk persons can be achieved with starting doses of some of the older statins. Possible alternatives in such cases include the use of high-dose statin therapy, a more efficacious statin, or combination therapy. Recent clinical data have demonstrated a greater likelihood of coronary heart disease event reduction with aggressive statin therapy that lowers LDL-C in a robust fashion (>30%-40%) than with moderate therapy. Until data from ongoing trials of combination therapy are available, however, monotherapy with a potent statin should be initiated to lower LDL-C. Nonetheless, for residual elevation in triglycerides and/or reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, adding a second agent (eg, fenofibrate, niacin) is a reasonable option.

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