, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 467-473
Date: 11 Jan 2008

Statin therapy in renal disease: Harmful or protective?

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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) creates one of the highest-risk atherosclerotic states that can occur in human beings. The use of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) has gained widespread acceptance in the general population for the purposes of lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and reducing the future risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiac death. In patients with CKD, these benefits are believed to be enjoyed to the same or greater degrees. Reductions in LDL-C with statins may be associated with a reduced progression of CKD. Importantly, recent studies suggest statins are associated with a reduction in rates of acute renal failure after cardiopulmonary bypass surgery and exposure to iodinated contrast. In patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), recent data suggest that the annual rate of coronary artery calcification can be attenuated or reduced with LDL-C reduction. However, two large trials demonstrating LDL-C reduction with statins and with these drugs have failed to demonstrate a reduction in cardiovascular events in ESRD. Thus, the potential benefits of statins and LDL-C reduction in CKD have to be considered in light of evidence suggesting a reduced benefit, if any, in patients with ESRD. In addition, studies suggest that there are higher adverse drug effects with statins in CKD.