October 16, 2012
Controlling Lipids With Higher Doses Of Specific Statin Drugs
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) recently conducted a comprehensive review and discovered that higher-dose use of particular statins can help treat high cholesterol and other blood lipid problems.
In particular, the researchers believe that medications should be considered as an option after patients have tried to manage cholesterol issues with changes in diet and exercise. According to the review´s findings, some statins are more effective than others. As well, statins combined with lipid-lowering medications may not always work better. The review was featured in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy and included results on the various treatment options for overly high LDL cholesterol levels, too low HDL cholesterol levels, as well as increased levels of triglycerides.
“Statins are proven medications that can reduce heart attacks and strokes by about 30 percent in the patients that need them,” explained the study´s author Matt Ito, a professor of pharmacy practice at OSU and president-elect of the National Lipid Association, in a prepared statement.
The study highlighted how statin drugs can help lower LDL, otherwise known as “bad,” cholesterol for moderate and high risk patients who have problems managing their cholesterol levels or who have suffered a heart attack or angina as side effects of cardiovascular disease. As well, in some cases, increasing the amount of statin was found to be a protective measure against cardiovascular issues and was more effective than other drugs or a mix of other drugs.
“What we looked at here was whether adding other drugs or therapies to the use of statins could further reduce problems, and in most cases the research indicates that they didn´t help,” continued Ito in the statement. “What did help was increasing the statin dose to higher levels within the range for which they are approved. And there did not appear to be a significant change in side effects based on any approved dosage.”
The group of investigators looked at “intensive monotherapy,” where high dosages of only one statin drug are utilized to lower LDL cholesterol to 100 mg/dL or less or 70 mg/dL or less for patients who have already had special risks like coronary disease or diabetes. The findings of the study showed that an average patient who undergoes intensive monotherapy could only be prescribed the drugs atorvastatin (brand name Lipitor) and rosuvastatin (brand name Crestor), which have both been used to decrease the amount of cholesterol in the blood of adults. Even though statin drugs are mainly well tolerated by patients, there may be some side effects such as muscle pain or damage. Medical experts state that it is important to consider these kinds of side effects when creating safe dosages for individuals.
“The reaction to statin regimens varies with the individual, so some of these other drugs may also be able to accomplish the goals we´re seeking,” noted Ito in the statement. “These recommendations are based on results with an average patient, but physicians may find some of their patients can do adequately well with other statins, or that they don´t need intensive monotherapy.”
For patients who are concerned about their cholesterol levels, the Foundation of the National Lipid Association provides important information for individuals. The organization provides a number of tricks and tips for lifestyle management. For one, they recommend that people consume a diet full of dietary fiber, lean sources of protein, and healthier fats and oils like liquid vegetable oils. They also advise that individuals eat less foods that are rich in saturated fat, avoid foods that have “partially hydrogenated” oil or trans fat, and limit intake of sweets and sugary beverages.