News Flash > Cardiovascular Health

 

Cholesterol-Lowering Therapy Shows Big Gains

Reported June 26, 2009


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The percentage of patients who lowered their elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol to within target levels has nearly doubled in the last decade, according to a recent survey. The Lipid Treatment Assessment Project (L-TAP) surveyed nearly 10,000 patients, average age 62, from nine countries, who were undergoing cholesterol-lowering management.

Researchers found the number of patients successfully reaching their LDL level goals rose from 38 percent to 73 percent over the last 10 years. Sixty-seven percent of high-risk patients reached established goal levels, though only 30 percent of very high risk patients -- those with existing coronary artery disease and two or more other risk factors such as obesity, diabetes or smoking -- successfully reached their LDL targets.

 

 

"Although there is room for improvement, particularly in very high-risk patients,” David D. Waters, M.D., lead author of the study and Emeritus Professor, University of California, San Francisco was quoted as saying, “these results indicate that lipid-lowering therapy is being applied much more successfully than it was a decade ago."

Countries participating in the study were the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Brazil, South Korea and Taiwan.

Researchers reported that 75 percent of patients surveyed were taking a statin drug (atorvastatin, simvastatin, rosuvastatin or pravastatin). The median duration of therapy was two years. Others were treated with fibrates, ezetimbe or lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.

In an accompanying editorial, Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., M.D., notes that these results indicate there is still a considerable gap in the treatment of patients at highest risk for cardiovascular events. "Rates of obesity and diabetes have worsened over the past decade, and cardio-protective drugs can only do so much to remedy the metabolic complications that often result from poor lifestyle choices," writes Gotto, Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. "Effectively addressing global cardiovascular risk requires an increased focus on lifestyle, as well as lipids."

Source: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, June 22, 2009