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cardiovascular disease, evidence-based guidelines, risk reduction, safety, statin



  1. Ashen, Marie Dominique PhD, CRNP
  2. Foody, JoAnne M. MD


Current clinical guidelines for management of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) have evolved to reflect the findings of numerous randomized clinical trials and represent an important opportunity to effectively improve the cardiovascular (CV) risk profile of a wide range of patients. Implementation of guideline-recommended LDL-C management strategies facilitates the appropriate use of all available treatments, including lifestyle and dietary changes and pharmacotherapy. Where intensive lowering of LDL-C is required, suboptimal use of statins is a major contributor to the significant number of patients who remain at an unnecessarily increased risk of CV disease as a consequence of failing to reach their guideline-recommended LDL-C goals. This underuse may be explained by concerns over the safety and efficacy of high-dose statin regimens in certain populations. These issues are explored in the context of current, evidence-based clinical guidelines for LDL-C management and, through 3 hypothetical case studies, selection of appropriate starting doses of statins, and titration to a higher dose or switching to a more potent statin, to ensure that patients reach their individual LDL-C goals and reduce their overall CV risk, is also examined.