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Comparing Targeted LDL-C Lowering vs. High-Intensity Statin Therapy for Coronary Artery Disease Patients


Core Concepts
Treating to a target LDL-C level is noninferior to a high-intensity statin approach for reducing cardiovascular events in patients with coronary artery disease.
Abstract
The LODESTAR trial compared two strategies for using statins in secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: Treat-to-target: Patients started on moderate-intensity statins and had their doses titrated to achieve an LDL-C target of 50-70 mg/dL. High-intensity statin: Patients were prescribed high-dose statins (rosuvastatin 20 mg or atorvastatin 40 mg) without titration. The trial found that the treat-to-target approach was noninferior to the high-intensity statin strategy for the composite endpoint of death, MI, stroke, or revascularization at 3 years. Key insights: Both strategies achieved similar reductions in LDL-C levels, with around 60% of patients in each group reaching an LDL-C <70 mg/dL. The treat-to-target approach allowed more patients to remain on moderate-intensity statins (54% vs. 92% on high-intensity). This may benefit patients concerned about statin side effects and improve adherence, though it may be less convenient and potentially more costly. The trial did not allow the use of non-statin LDL-lowering therapies, which are now more widely available and could further improve LDL-C goal attainment.
Stats
Mean LDL-C levels were below 70 mg/dL in both groups by 6 weeks and 3 months. At 3 years, mean LDL-C was 69.1 mg/dL in the treat-to-target group and 68.4 mg/dL in the high-intensity statin group (p=0.21). LDL-C <70 mg/dL was achieved within 3 months by 59.2% in the treat-to-target group and 67.3% in the high-intensity statin group (p=0.02). The 3-year rate of the composite endpoint (death, MI, stroke, or revascularization) was 8.1% in the treat-to-target group and 8.7% in the high-intensity statin group (p<0.001 for noninferiority).
Quotes
"If LDL-C levels are cut to a similar degree using the two approaches, as they were in the trial, you would expect that the event reduction will be the same." "In a patient who is willing to take high-intensity statin therapy, I don't think it matters. It might be helpful, however, for a very small subgroup of patients who may not want to take high-intensity statins and aren't very interested in any of the non-statin therapy options."

Key Insights Distilled From

by Steve Stiles at www.medscape.com 03-20-2023

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/989884
Treat-to-Target or High-Intensity Statin in Clinical CAD?

Deeper Inquiries

How might the availability of newer non-statin LDL-lowering therapies impact the comparative effectiveness of the treat-to-target versus high-intensity statin strategies?

The availability of newer non-statin LDL-lowering therapies, such as PCSK9 inhibitors, inclisiran, and bempedoic acid, can significantly impact the comparative effectiveness of the treat-to-target versus high-intensity statin strategies. These newer therapies offer additional options for patients who may not achieve their LDL-C targets with statins alone. In the context of the LODESTAR trial, where non-statin LDL-lowering therapy was discouraged in the treat-to-target group, the results may have been influenced by the lack of access to these newer therapies. Incorporating these advanced treatments into the comparison could potentially lead to different outcomes, especially for patients who struggle to reach their LDL-C goals with statins alone.

What factors should be considered when deciding between a treat-to-target approach versus a high-intensity statin approach for an individual patient with coronary artery disease?

When deciding between a treat-to-target approach and a high-intensity statin approach for an individual patient with coronary artery disease, several factors should be considered. These include the patient's baseline LDL-C levels, their tolerance to statin therapy, the presence of comorbidities or contraindications to certain medications, the patient's preferences regarding pill burden and potential side effects, and the cost implications of different treatment options. Additionally, the patient's overall cardiovascular risk profile, including factors like age, gender, smoking status, and family history of cardiovascular disease, should be taken into account to tailor the treatment strategy to their specific needs and goals.

What other patient-centered outcomes, beyond just cardiovascular events, should be evaluated when comparing these two statin treatment strategies?

In addition to cardiovascular events, other patient-centered outcomes that should be evaluated when comparing treat-to-target and high-intensity statin treatment strategies include quality of life, medication adherence, incidence of statin-related side effects (such as muscle symptoms), healthcare utilization (hospitalizations, emergency room visits), and overall satisfaction with the treatment regimen. Assessing these outcomes can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of each treatment approach on the patient's well-being and overall health outcomes, helping to guide clinical decision-making and optimize patient care.
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