Effects of switching statins on achievement of lipid goals: Measuring Effective Reductions in Cholesterol Using Rosuvastatin Therapy (MERCURY I) study

Herbert Schuster, Philip J Barter, Steen Stender, Raphael C Cheung, Jacques Bonnet, Jonathan M Morrell, Claire Watkins, David Kallend, Ali Raza
American Heart Journal 2004, 147 (4): 705-13

BACKGROUND: In a multinational trial (4522IL/0081), we assessed the effects of switching to low doses of rosuvastatin from commonly used doses of atorvastatin, simvastatin, and pravastatin on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goal achievement in high-risk patients.

METHODS: Hypercholesterolemic patients (n = 3140) with coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, or type 2 diabetes were randomized to open-label rosuvastatin 10 mg, atorvastatin 10 or 20 mg, simvastatin 20 mg, or pravastatin 40 mg for 8 weeks. Patients either remained on these treatments for another 8 weeks or switched treatments from atorvastatin 10 mg, simvastatin 20 mg, and pravastatin 40 mg to rosuvastatin 10 mg or from atorvastatin 20 mg to rosuvastatin 10 or 20 mg. The primary efficacy measure was the proportion of patients reaching the Joint European Societies' LDL-C goal (<116 mg/dL) at week 16. For measures of cholesterol goal achievement, treatment arms were compared using logistic-regression analysis.

RESULTS: Significant improvement in LDL-C goal achievement was found for patients who switched to rosuvastatin 10 mg, compared with patients who remained on atorvastatin 10 mg (86% vs 80%, P <.05), simvastatin 20 mg (86% vs 72%, P <.0001), and pravastatin 40 mg (88% vs 66%, P <.0001), and between patients switched to rosuvastatin 20 mg and those who remained on atorvastatin 20 mg (90% vs 84%, P <.01). Similar results were found for achievement of the European combined LDL-C and total cholesterol goals and National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III LDL-C goals. All statins were well tolerated over 16 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that switching to a more efficacious statin is an effective strategy to improve lipid goal achievement in patients requiring lipid-lowering therapy.

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