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Effects on 11-year mortality and morbidity of lowering LDL cholesterol with simvastatin for about 5 years :a RCT



Effects on 11-year mortality and morbidity of lowering LDL cholesterol with simvastatin for about 5 years :a RCT

Heart Protection Study Collaborative Group

The Lancet,
378:9808, November 23, 2011

Effects on 11-year mortality and morbidity of lowering LDL cholesterol with simvastatin for about 5 years :a RCT

Background
Findings of large randomised trials have shown that lowering LDL cholesterol with statins reduces vascular morbidity and mortality rapidly, but limited evidence exists about the long-term efficacy and safety of statin treatment. The aim of the extended follow-up of the Heart Protection Study (HPS) is to assess long-term efficacy and safety of lowering LDL cholesterol with statins, and here we report cause-specific mortality and major morbidity in the in-trial and post-trial periods.


Methods
20 536 patients at high risk of vascular and non-vascular outcomes were allocated either 40 mg simvastatin daily or placebo, using minimised randomisation. Mean in-trial follow-up was 5•3 years (SD 1•2), and post-trial follow-up of surviving patients yielded a mean total duration of 11•0 years (SD 0•6). The primary outcome of the long-term follow-up of HPS was first post-randomisation major vascular event, and analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ISRCTN, number 48489393.


Findings
During the in-trial period, allocation to simvastatin yielded an average reduction in LDL cholesterol of 1•0 mmol/L and a proportional decrease in major vascular events of 23% (95% CI 19—28; p<0•0001), with significant divergence each year after the first. During the post-trial period (when statin use and lipid concentrations were similar in both groups), no further significant reductions were noted in either major vascular events (risk ratio [RR] 0•95 [0•89—1•02]) or vascular mortality (0•98 [0•90—1•07]). During the combined in-trial and post-trial periods, no significant differences were recorded in cancer incidence at all sites (0•98 [0•92—1•05]) or any particular site, or in mortality attributed to cancer (1•01 [0•92—1•11]) or to non-vascular causes (0•96 [0•89—1•03]).


Interpretation
More prolonged LDL-lowering statin treatment produces larger absolute reductions in vascular events. Moreover, even after study treatment stopped in HPS, benefits persisted for at least 5 years without any evidence of emerging hazards. These findings provide further support for the prompt initiation and long-term continuation of statin treatment.







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Prepared by: Dr. Houssam Al-Nahhas






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