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Am J Cardiol. 1998 Aug 27;82(4B):3J-10J.

Current and future treatment of hyperlipidemia: the role of statins.

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Point Medical, Rond Point de la Nation, Dijon, France.


Hyperlipidemia is recognized as one of the major risk factors for the development of coronary artery disease and progression of atherosclerotic lesions. Dietary therapy together with hypolipidemic drugs are central to the management of hyperlipidemia, which aims to prevent atherosclerotic plaque progression, induce regression, and so decrease the risk of acute coronary events in patients with pre-existing coronary or peripheral vascular disease. In patients at high risk of coronary artery disease but without evidence of atherosclerosis, treatment is designed to prevent the premature development of coronary artery disease, whereas in those with hypertriglyceridemia, treatment aims to prevent the development of hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, and pancreatitis. The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, or statins, are the most potent lipid-lowering agents currently available, and their use in the treatment of hyperlipidemia provides the focus for this review. Particular emphasis is given to cerivastatin, a new HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor that combines potent cholesterol-lowering properties with significant triglyceride-reducing effects. Recently completed primary and secondary intervention trials have shown that the significant reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol achieved with statins result in significant reductions in morbidity and mortality associated with coronary artery disease as well as reductions in the incidence of stroke and total mortality. Such benefits occur early in the course of statin therapy and have led to suggestions that these drugs may possess antiatherogenic effects over and above their capacity to lower atherogenic lipids and lipoproteins. Experimental studies have also shown statin-induced improvements in endothelial function, decreased platelet thrombus formation, improvements in fibrinolytic activity, and reductions in the frequency of transient myocardial ischemia.

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