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USPSTF skipped LDL lowering.

DARE CARDIOVASCULAR EXPERTS CONSIDER a future in which there are near-universal statin recommendations for middle-aged adults?

USPSTF analysis suggests that statin recommendations could be based primarily on a patient's underlying CVD risk rather than on his or her cholesterol level. Disseminating a treatment strategy based largely on CVD risk alone has been a difficult message for the clinical community to accept and implement.

Nearly a generation of physicians has considered high cholesterol levels, rather than generalized CVD risk, the target for statin treatment. Only a minority of physicians consistently use complex, risk-based probabilistic calculations to determine therapy.

Several key questions deserve careful consideration. Should LDL be considered in treatment recommendations beyond CVD risk? The decision to use absolute risk to guide statin recommendations is based on the finding that the relative risk reduction seen with statin therapy is independent of baseline risk; thus, those with the highest absolute baseline CVD risk experience the greatest reduction in CVD events.

However, the relative risk reduction of lipid-lowering therapy is also proportional to mmol/dL reduction in LDL level. This supports the contention that those with the highest baseline LDL levels should benefit the most from treatment because they have the most potential decline in LDL with intervention. One way to reconcile these findings is to incorporate both LDL levels and CVD risk into treatment recommendations, as has been done in the European guidelines. This approach recognizes that the relative benefit of statins is proportional to LDL lowering but that the absolute treatment benefit is largely driven by baseline risk.

From the resource perspective, the vast majority of statins are now available as generic products and require limited monitoring, leading to quite modest therapeutic costs. For patients in the gray area not covered by the guidelines, clinicians should be cautioned against adopting either a "treat none" or a "treat all" strategy. Rather, gaps in the evidence provide opportunities for clinicians to practice the art of medicine and engage with patients in shared decision making regarding strategies for CVD prevention.

Ann Marie Navar, MD, PhD, and Eric Peterson, MD, MPH, are both at the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C. Dr. Navar reported funding from Regeneron and Sanofi. Dr. Peterson reported funding from Merck, Sanofi, Regeneron, and AstraZeneca. They made their comments in an editorial to the USPSTF report (JAMA. 2016 Nov;316[19]:1981-3).

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Title Annotation:VIEW ON THE NEWS; Low density lipoproteins; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Author:Navar, Ann Marie
Publication:Family Practice News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2016
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