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Statins: new data in secondary prevention and diabetes. Pravastatin and simvastatin are the best-assessed statins



Statins: new data in secondary prevention and diabetes. Pravastatin and simvastatin are the best-assessed statins



Prescrire International 12(66): 143-148



The efficacy of pravastatin and simvastatin was first shown several years ago in patients with coronary heart disease. Other trials have since been published. In the HPS trial, which studied patients with coronary heart disease, other cardiovascular conditions, or diabetes, simvastatin significantly reduced the risk of death, coronary events and stroke when compared with placebo. In the ALLHAT-LLT trial, in patients with treated hypertension, pravastatin did not reduce overall mortality. In the PROSPER trial, in patients aged over 70 with cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular risk factors, pravastatin reduced the incidence of coronary events relative to placebo, but did not reduce overall mortality. Pharmacovigilance studies suggest there is no difference between these four statins in terms of their potential to cause rhabdomyolysis. Taken together, these trials show that statin use can be extended to patients with levels of LDL-cholesterol over 2.4 mmol/l (0.9 g/l) if they have coronary heart disease (and no hypercholesterolaemia), a history of ischaemic stroke, or lower-limb arterial disease. Statins can also be prescribed for diabetic patients with no signs of cardiovascular disease but whose LDL-cholesterol exceeds 3.4 mmol/l (1.3 g/l). Clinical trial data support the use of pravastatin or simvastatin in these situations, at a dose of 20 or 40 mg daily. Plasma creatine phosphokinase assay should be done if muscle symptoms occur or if the patient has a particular risk of rhabdomyolysis.

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Accession: 050378833

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PMID: 12908497


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