Increased reduction in LDL cholesterol lessens vascular events

January 11, 2011

Further reductions in LDL cholesterol through more intensive statin regimens safely produce definite further reductions in vascular events, even down to very low LDL levels, lower than current targets, according to the results of 2 meta-analyses, The Lancet reported. There was no evidence of any lower threshold where the benefit is not seen.

Further reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol through more intensive statin regimens safely produce definite further reductions in vascular events, even down to very low LDL levels, lower than current targets, according to the results of 2 meta-analyses, The Lancet reported. There was no evidence of any lower threshold where the benefit is not seen.

Researchers said that each 1-mmol/L LDL cholesterol reduction reduces the risk of occlusive vascular events by approximately 20%, irrespective of baseline cholesterol concentration, which implies that a 2- to 3-mmol/L reduction would reduce risk by about 40% to 50%. According to researchers, the findings suggest that the primary goal for patients at high risk of occlusive vascular events should be to achieve the largest LDL-cholesterol reduction possible without materially increasing myopathy risk.

In contrast to current therapeutic guidelines, which tend to emphasize particular LDL-cholesterol targets, this research suggested that lowering LDL cholesterol further in high-risk patients who achieve such targets would produce additional benefits, without an increased risk of cancer, nonvascular mortality, or other safety issue, said Anthony Keech, a professor of medicine, cardiology, and epidemiology at the University of Sydney in Australia.

The meta-analyses were conducted by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration, which includes researchers from both the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) and the National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney.