Starting primary prevention earlier with statins

Jennifer G Robinson
American Journal of Cardiology 2014 November 1, 114 (9): 1437-42
The 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults was based on a systematic review of randomized trials with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) outcomes and meta-analyses of these trials published through 2011. With evidence of an ASCVD risk reduction benefit greatly outweighing the potential for adverse effects, the guideline recommends statin therapy for primary prevention in those with ≥7.5% 10-year ASCVD risk and consideration of statin therapy in those with 5% to <7.5% 10-year ASCVD risk. Subsequent meta-analyses of the statin trials support these recommendations and have additionally found a reduction in total mortality in lower-risk subjects. Additional evidence from imaging trials and epidemiologic studies suggests that initiation of statin therapy earlier in the course of ASCVD could have the potential to more effectively prevent age-related progression of atherosclerosis. Given the high levels of suboptimal risk factors in adults and the safety and availability of low-cost generic statins, a consideration of all the available evidence strongly supports earlier intervention for the primary prevention of ASCVD. In conclusion, earlier initiation of statin therapy has the potential to have a large long-term impact on the heavy burden of cardiovascular disease in the aging populations.

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