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The Evolution or Revolution of Statin Therapy in Primary Prevention: Where Do We Go From Here?


CHD morbidity and mortality rates have more than halved since their peak in the 1960s and 1970s. This trend is a result of many factors; however, primary prevention provides the bulk of this benefit. Despite this tremendous progress, cardiovascular disease remains the major cause of death and this trend is projected to persist given the continuous growth in those aged 65 years or greater. Although statin therapy has been a main contributor to a primary prevention strategy, there is still controversy about exposing a large healthy population to long-term statin therapy. Advocates contend the mortality benefits from an aggressive statin approach would remove heart disease from its perch as the greatest killer of Americans and stroke mortality would drop from third to fifth place. Those advocating a much more conservative approach contend the data are not available to expose a healthy population to lifelong statin therapy given limited data on mortality, potential adverse events, and considerable costs. Given these opposing views, this summary of the evolution of statin therapy for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease will review the major factors fueling this debate.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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P. Rehfield: none, C. Kopes-Kerr: none, and M. Clearfield: consultancy, honoraria received from and has travel/accommodation expenses covered or reimbursed by Astra Zeneca and Daiichi Sankyo.

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Correspondence to Michael Clearfield.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Statin Drugs

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Rehfield, P., Kopes-Kerr, C. & Clearfield, M. The Evolution or Revolution of Statin Therapy in Primary Prevention: Where Do We Go From Here?. Curr Atheroscler Rep 15, 298 (2013).

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  • Statin
  • Primary prevention
  • LDL target
  • C-reactive protein