Best practice - Ongoing polemics

R. Paoletti, S. Bellosta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Current treatment strategies and disease management programs for hyperlipidemia employ a range of lipid-lowering drugs. Results from early lipid-lowering trials using diet, fibrates, niacin and other classes of drug showed that lowering plasma cholesterol can significantly reduce the risk of developing ischemic cardiovascular events. The landmark statin trials have clearly demonstrated the benefits of lipid-lowering therapy in coronary heart disease (CHD) prevention and unlike early lipid-lowering studies, a reduction in mortality may become evident with statin therapy during the first year of treatment. The number of successful lipid-intervention trials continues to increase and evidence is accumulating that lipid modification can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular events among individuals with only modest degrees of blood-lipid abnormalities. With increasingly powerful drugs to modify blood lipids, the potential levels at which to initiate treatment and the appropriate target levels are rapidly changing and debate surrounds the question of where the line to initiate treatment should be drawn. The relative lack of major adverse events with statin therapy means that the level of CHD risk at which clinical benefit occurs cannot be determined by the degree of risk at which benefit exceeds adverse events. Therefore, patients with only moderately raised cholesterol levels can be treated because statin treatment is well tolerated. One of the most important aspects of the statin trials is the finding that clinical events, such as death and disability due to coronary artery disease, may be preventable or limited in a significant number of patients if they receive aggressive therapy. Current goals for cholesterol levels in patients with established CHD are rarely achieved with non-aggressive treatment; however, with aggressive lipid lowering statins can achieve these goals in a safe and effective manner.

Original languageEnglish
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1999


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Coronary artery disease
  • LDL-cholesterol
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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