-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- High doses of the
cholesterol-lowering statins Crestor and Lipitor reduced the amount
of plaque in coronary arteries and reversed the progression of
coronary artery disease, new research shows.
The study included 1,385 patients who took either 40 milligrams
(mg) of Crestor (rosuvastatin) or 80 mg of Lipitor (atorvastatin)
daily and were followed for two years.
The major finding was that the amount of coronary artery plaque
fell 0.99 percent with Lipitor and 1.22 percent with Crestor. The
difference between the two drugs is not statistically significant,
the researchers noted.
"Regression of plaque has been the holy grail of heart disease treatment, and in this trial more than two-thirds of the patients had regression," lead researcher Dr. Stephen J. Nicholls, cardiovascular director of the Cleveland Clinic Coordinating Center for Clinical Research in Ohio, said in an American Heart Association news release.
"It's a very positive outcome for patients and shows the benefits of high doses of statins," Nicholls added.
The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the American Heart
Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., and are published in
New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by AstraZeneca, which markets Crestor.
Among the other study findings:
"The differences between the two drugs were modest and the difference in HDL levels was less than we were anticipating based on previous studies," Nicholls said in the news release.
The patients in this study had undergone coronary angiography,
usually because they'd experienced chest pain and had abnormal
results on a stress test.
In previous studies of patients who had similar characteristics
and took lower doses of statins, 15 percent to 20 percent suffered
a heart attack or stroke or required angioplasty to open a clogged
artery over two years of follow-up. The rate of such events among
patients in this new study was less than half of that.
"Doctors have been reluctant to use high doses of statins, but in this study the drugs were safe, well-tolerated and had a profound impact on lipid levels, the amount of plaque in vessel walls and the number of cardiovascular events," Nicholls said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
coronary artery disease.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.