Beyond Statins: Who and When to Prescribe?
- Current Diabetes Reports
Author: Om Ganda
Publisher: Springer US
Purpose of Review
Statins are the most evidence-based therapy to target LDL-C to reduce atherosclerotic events. Yet, many people are unable to achieve adequate reduction in this key atherogenic factor. Moreover, residual risk of cardiovascular events may persist even after “optimal” LDL-C due to elevations in triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Therefore, additional therapies beyond statins are needed, particularly in patients with diabetes.
Clinical trials with ezetimibe and PCSK9 inhibitors have reported further reductions in cardiovascular events, beyond statins. The latter are particularly effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol and in reducing event rates. However, they are not effective in lowering triglycerides. Currently available fibrates and niacin have not proven effective in combination with statins in clinical trials, while the top line results of the REDUCE-IT trial with EPA, a pure omega-3 fatty acid, reporting 25% relative risk reduction in primary endpoints are of great interest.
Recently approved agents have the promise to improve cardiovascular outcomes beyond statins. Many novel drugs in development have the potential to further improve prognosis.