Intermittent Therapy Effective in Patients With Statin Intolerance

Published Online: Thursday, October 10, 2013
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Patients with high cholesterol who are intolerant of statins may be able to resume and benefit from intermittent therapy, according to the results of a recent study.

The retrospective analysis, published in the September 2013 issue of the American Heart Journal, studied the medical records of 1605 patients referred to the Cleveland Clinic Preventive Cardiology Section for statin intolerance between January 1995 and March 2010. The researchers followed patients for at least 6 months and evaluated changes in lipid profile, achievement of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol goals, and statin tolerance rate.

Approximately 73% of patients with statin intolerance were able to tolerate a statin for the median follow-up of 31 months. Patients who resumed taking statins daily significantly reduced LDL levels, by 27.7% on average. Those who took statins intermittently also significantly reduced their LDL cholesterol by 21.3% on average, while patients who did not resume statin use at all only reduced their cholesterol by an average of 8.3%. Almost 80% of patients who took statins every day achieved their Adult Treatment Panel III goal of LDL cholesterol, compared with 61% of intermittent users and 44% of nonusers. After 8 years of follow-up, all-cause mortality tended to be lower for stain users than for nonusers; however, this difference was not statistically significant.

The authors conclude that intermittent statin therapy may be a viable treatment option to reduce LDL cholesterol in most statin-intolerant patients.

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