The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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Statins for High-Risk Patients without Heart Disease or High Cholesterol

The FDA recently approved the use of atorvastatin (Lipitor) to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients without heart disease who have type 2 diabetes plus other risk factors, with or without hypercholesterolemia. The agency also approved the drug’s use to reduce the risk of stroke in high-risk nondiabetic patients without heart disease, whether or not they have hypercholesterolemia. Similar indications were previously approved for simvastatin (Zocor).

STATINS AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE — Decreasing serum concentrations of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) can prevent formation, slow progression and cause regression of atherosclerotic lesions. Statins, which are inhibitors of HMG Co-A reductase, lower LDL-C and appear to have other beneficial cardiovascular effects.1 A recent meta-analysis of 14 prospective intervention trials of atorvastatin, ... more      

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