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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Atorvastatin compared with simvastatin in patients with severe LDL hypercholesterolaemia treated by regular LDL apheresis.

OBJECTIVES: Atorvastatin is a new potent HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor. We evaluated whether patients with coronary heart disease and severe hypercholesterolaemia showing insufficient LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol reduction despite combined therapy with simvastatin and regular LDL apheresis will benefit from atorvastatin therapy. SETTING: Tertiary care centre, university hospital. METHODS: In 21 patients treated by LDL apheresis, concomitant simvastatin therapy (40 mg day-1) was replaced by atorvastatin (40 mg day-1) and increased to 60 and 80 mg day-1 (each for 3 months) if no side-effects were reported and NCEP treatment goals were not reached. RESULTS: In 20 of 21 patients (95%), atorvastatin resulted in significant reduction of LDL cholesterol compared with simvastatin (by 10%, additional 8% and additional 1%, with 40, 60 and 80 mg day-1, respectively). In four patients, NCEP treatment goals were reached (in three by atorvastatin alone, and in one by atorvastatin and apheresis). Patients with little reduction in LDL cholesterol to 40 mg day-1 atorvastatin benefited most by increasing the dose to 60 mg day-1 (additional 13% reduction), whilst those responding to atorvastatin 40 mg day-1 benefited less (additional 1.9% reduction). During atorvastatin therapy, significantly less plasma had to be treated during apheresis resulting in shorter apheresis time. Eight patients (38%) reported side-effects, resulting in discontinuation of atorvastatin in three (14%) and dose reduction in five patients (24%), whilst no elevation of biochemical markers was observed. CONCLUSION: Concomitant atorvastatin therapy is superior to simvastatin therapy in patients with severe hypercholesterolaemia treated with regular LDL apheresis, but is associated with a high rate of subjective side-effects.[1]


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