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    Old 09-23-2004, 03:24 PM   #16
    ty123
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    I've been taking zetia 10mg for about 10 months, and until 2.5 weeks ago I was on 80mg of Pravachol with it. Extrapolating from baseline, I should have gotten roughly a 35% decrease in LDL, and 15% from zetia. Together they should have gotten my LDL down to 95. They didn't.

    I'm guessing the Lipitor and added diet changes will get me to that 95, then I anticipate having to add in a third agent, such as niacin to approach good levels.

    I _am_ hoping to see a rise in HDL after 4 decreases in a row.

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    Old 09-23-2004, 04:23 PM   #17
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    I know you have FH and don't respond to statins very well....but 40 mg Lipitor is a hell of a lot more potent than 80 mg Pravachol..good luck. BTW, if the 40 mg Lipitor doesn't cut it, I would try 20 mg Crestor before going the Niacin route. The 20 Crestor has the punch of 80 Lipitor without the huge exposure to statin.

    RON

     
    Old 09-23-2004, 04:43 PM   #18
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Mark,

    Since you are already taking a high dose of Lipitor, I wouldn't add niacin on top of that without first discussing it with your doctor.

     
    Old 09-23-2004, 06:41 PM   #19
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    I'm definately not going to be adding niacin on a whim, or without doctor discussion. And in fact, I'd definately want to see what Crestor 40 could do first.

    Crestor apparently has the biggest positive effect on HDL apart from niacin, and straightlined from Pravachol 80 might give me 20% more reduction in LDL.

    I won't be *****-footing around with 20mg of anything though. I'm not doing all of this to DELAY an MI, I want to prevent it.

    mark

     
    Old 09-23-2004, 07:17 PM   #20
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Well, just remember that your situation may not actually be as dire as you think. There are plenty of people with high cholesterol who live well into their eighties and nineties. So, just don't become too panicky, and jeopardize your health in the process. Just make sure you take plenty of those antioxidants that I mentioned. They're important. True, drugs may have a useful purpose, but they're not always a panacea. You need to cover all your bases.

     
    Old 09-23-2004, 07:21 PM   #21
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mhtyler
    I'm definately not going to be adding niacin on a whim, or without doctor discussion. And in fact, I'd definately want to see what Crestor 40 could do first.
    mark
    CRESTOR 40 ....PLEASE>>>Don't do that untill you at least give 20 Crestor a go. The strategy is to use the LOWEST DOSE STATIN POSSIBLE.

     
    Old 09-23-2004, 07:52 PM   #22
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    "The strategy is to use the LOWEST DOSE STATIN POSSIBLE."

    Surely the strategy is to obtain the best lipid levels possible.

    mark

     
    Old 09-23-2004, 10:32 PM   #23
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mhtyler
    "The strategy is to use the LOWEST DOSE STATIN POSSIBLE."

    Surely the strategy is to obtain the best lipid levels possible.

    mark
    Absolutely....but....remember that ever lurking thing called... "DEMINISHING RETURNS". I don't understand why you would jump to 40 Crestor without ever trying the lower doses first But if you want to SHOT GUN IT (ie, your LIVER)...it's your call.

     
    Old 09-24-2004, 05:46 AM   #24
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    mark,

    Believe me, there's nothing poussy-footing about using 20 mg. Lipitor...it's potent stuff.

    Ubie,
    Coincidentally all of the super high HDL people I know are women??? Well, giving up my penis to get an HDL of 100 is one sacrifice too many!

    Last edited by zip2play; 09-24-2004 at 05:47 AM.

     
    Old 09-24-2004, 06:20 AM   #25
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Here is a quote from Elena Citkowitz, MD, PhD, FACP, the Director of Cholesterol Management Center, at Yale University Medical Center..my emphasis so you guys don't miss my point :

    She refers specifically to treating FH:

    "Maximum doses of one of the stronger HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (ie, statins) such as atorvastatin or rosuvastatin and one or more other medications, including bile acid sequestrants or niacin, are required to approach the recommended LDLc goals."

    The LDL goal she's talking about approaching isn't 70, its 100, just to bring this around to the thread subject.

    Not REACH, not ACHIEVE, not SURPASS....but APPROACH ... LDL 100.

    She further emphasizes...

    "Even the strongest statins at their maximum doses are almost always inadequate for patients with FH, and one or more additional (ie, nonstatin) cholesterol-lowering medication is necessary"

    mark

     
    Old 09-24-2004, 06:26 AM   #26
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Incidentally, the Cleveland Clinic study you pointed me to Zip2 has some interesting insight into FH resistance to statin therapy.

    It appears that FH'ers often have excessive levels of Lipoprotein A which is unafected by statins. That is bad news all around. Apparently I may not only have a concentration of the worst LDL, but the statins are only going to lower the "wus" type, and leave me holding the lp(a) bag.

    They say,

    "Finally, suspect Lp(a) excess in patients with hypercholesterolemia that is refractory to standard statin therapy. Since the calculated value of LDL-C includes the LDL contained in Lp(a), and since Lp(a) will not respond to statin therapy, significant hidden elevations of Lp(a) may account for the treatment failure."

    BUT, they also say,

    "Another recent study of men with documented coronary heart disease and elevated levels of both LDL-C and Lp(a) found that Lp(a) seemed to lose its atherogenic potency once LDL-C was aggressively lowered."

    my emphasis

    I'm keeping a weather eye on my liver guys, but frankly, my liver is the organ that has fallen down on the job.


    mark

    Last edited by mhtyler; 09-24-2004 at 06:34 AM.

     
    Old 09-24-2004, 07:15 PM   #27
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough? Pt1

    Another article:

    The primary and secondary prevention and atherosclerosis regression studies below in aggregate suggest that for optimal effects, LDL cholesterol should be lowered well below 100 mg/dl, to levels around 75-80 mg/dl.

    An increasing amount of data from primary prevention, secondary prevention, and atherosclerosis regression studies suggest that to provide optimal results in terms of lowering coronary heart disease events and /or stopping the progression of or reversing atherosclerotic lesions, LDL cholesterol should be lowered to well under 100 mg/dl, and optimally to <80 mg/dl.

    Heart Protection Study (HPS)1

    Lower LDL cholesterol is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The purpose of the Heart Protection Study (HPS) was to investigate whether lowering LDL cholesterol with simvastatin (brand name Zocor®) reduced the development of vascular disease irrespective of initial LDL concentrations. The researchers studied 20,536 patients in the United Kingdom with coronary disease, other occlusive arterial disease, or diabetes. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 40mg of simvastatin per day or a placebo. The average compliance was 85%, and 17% of the patients were already taking statins not related to the study.

    Among the findings was that patients taking simvastatin showed in a first non-fatal or fatal stroke compared to the placebo group (444 [4.3%] vs 585 [5.7%]; p<0.0001). Additionally, patients taking simvastatin showed a lower frequency of first non-fatal or fatal heart attack (8.7% vs 11.8%, p<.0001). Overall, patients taking simvastatin had a 24% reduction in the first occurrence of any of the studied major vascular events. Importantly, patients who entered the study with LDL cholesterol < 100 mg/dl before receiving Zocor had a reduction in cardiovascular events which was essentially as great as patients whose baseline LDL cholesterol was 130 or 160 mg/dl. This focused attention on lowering LDL cholesterol to ~80 mg/dl (as in this group) for optimal prevention of cardiovascular events.

    This reduction in major vascular events was not significant in the first year of the study, but it was significant in each of the following four years. Furthermore, this reduction was seen in each subcategory (based on the type of vascular disease in their history) of patients studied.

    There are several important messages from this study. Adding simvastatin to an existing treatment (17% were already on statins) safely produces large additional benefits over a wide range of cholesterol ranges. Taking 40 mg of simvastatin daily reduced the rates of heart attack, stroke, and revascularization by roughly 25%.Because of 15% non-compliance in this study, the true reduction could be as large as 33%. Although treatment with simvastatin produced significant benefits, the size of the five-year benefit depends on the overall risk for vascular disease rather than only cholesterol concentrations. That is, lowering cholesterol is likely to decrease the risk of a vascular event but the amount of reduction depends largely on other factors such as smoking, obesity, and genetic predisposition, rather than cholesterol concentrations alone.

    MIRACL Study2

    During the early time after an acute coronary syndrome—unstable angina (chest pain due to a blockage in the heart) or sudden heart attack—patients have the highest rate of death or recurrent ischemic (blockage) events. This study investigated whether 80 mg daily of atorvastatin (brand name Lipitor®), started 1-4 days after an acute coronary event, reduced the risk of death or non-fatal ischemic events. Patients at 122 clinical centers in Europe, North America, South Africa, and Australasia (n =3086) were randomly divided into two groups, receiving either 80 mg of atorvastatin per day or a placebo. Patients were followed for 16 weeks after the occurrence of an acute coronary syndrome. The significant finding was that patients in the atorvastatin group had a lower occurrence of recurrent ischemic events in the first 16 weeks after the appearance of acute coronary syndrome.

    Anglo-Scandinavian Clinical Outcomes Trial (ASCOT)3

    Hypertension (high blood pressure) and elevated cholesterol are two of the most common risk factors for heart disease and stroke, which are major causes of death worldwide. Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol are important in controlling these conditions. The ASCOT study included 19,342 patients randomized into one of two antihypertensive regimens. A total of 10,305 patients were randomly selected from these groups and placed in a lipid-lowering group which consisted of 10 mg of atorvastatin daily or placebo. The atorvastatin and placebo groups of the lipid-lowering arm had identical initial cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Patients were followed for a median of 3.3 years. The atorvastatin group had a 35% relative reduction in the LDL compared to the placebo group. Fatal heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease were 36% lower in the atorvastatin group. There were also significant (29%) reductions in total coronary events and a 27% reduction in fatal and non-fatal strokes. In the atorvastatin group, LDL cholesterol levels were about 80 mg/dl on therapy, again providing emphasis on lowering LDL to well below 100 mg/dl.

    Reversing Atherosclerosis with Aggressive Lipid Lowering (REVERSAL)4

    This recent study compared the effectiveness of atorvastatin and pravastatin in the reversal in atherosclerosis. Five hundred and two patients diagnosed with coronary heart disease and with LDL cholesterol around 150 mg/dl were treated with either atorvastatin or pravastatin (brand name Pravachol®). Intravascular ultrasound was used to assess atherosclerotic plaque status at pre-treatment baseline and after 18 months on therapy. The group treated with atorvastatin showed a median 0.4% reduction in plaque volume (the total plaque in a given section of an artery) while the pravastatin group had a median 2.7% increase in total plaque volume. Additionally, 97% of the patients taking atorvastatin reached the recommended LDL levels (=100 mg/dL) while 67% of pravastatin patients reached this level. On atorvastatin, LDL cholesterol was lowered to around 80 mg/dl, while on pravastatin, to 110 mg/dl.

     
    Old 09-24-2004, 07:17 PM   #28
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Part2....

    Regression Growth Evaluation Statin Study (REGRESS)5

    Restenosis (re-narrowing) after a type of angioplasty called percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) is one limitation of the long-term success of this procedure. In previous studies statins have failed to prevent restenosis. However their lack of success in the past may have been due in part to the fact that the studies did not allow a long enough follow-up time. Also, a better understanding of restenosis has led to a better evaluation of it. The REGRESS study investigated the efficacy of pravastatin in reducing restenosis after PTCA. The study considered 221 patients who had undergone PTCA. Patients were randomly selected to receive pravastatin or placebo. The pravastatin group showed a lower percentage of the artery blocked—based on the ratio of blockage to artery diameter (32% vs 45%). In addition, pravastatin provided a 7% reduction in clinical restenosis over placebo. Pravastatin, therefore, is an effective treatment to prevent restenosis after PTCA.

    Effect of aggressive lipid lowering on progression of atherosclerosis after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)6

    This follow-up study investigated the difference between moderate LDL lowering therapy and aggressive LDL therapy on the progression of athersclerosis. Four hundred and two patients were randomly assigned into the two treatment groups (aggressive and moderate). The aggressive group received 75-80 mg of lovastatin daily and the moderate group received 2.5-5 mg of lovastatin. Patients in the aggressive group showed average LDL levels of 92-97 mg/dL (a 40% decrease from baseline) while patients in the moderate group had levels of 131-135 (a 12% decrease). More significantly, patients treated with the aggressive treatment had less atherosclerosis than the moderately treated group. Athersclerosis was measured by minimum lumen diameter or by the average change in maximum arterial stenosis. This study, like the Heart Protection Study and the Reversal study demonstrates that at in patients with CABG there are clear benefits to receiving aggressive LDL lowering therapy with a goal of lowering LDL cholesterol to below 100 mg/dl.

    Arterial Biology for the Investigation of the Treatment of Effects of Reducing Cholesterol (ARBITER)7

    This study further assessed the question of whether lowering LDL cholesterol to well under 100 mg/dl will have benefits above and beyond lowering levels to 100 mg/dl. This study compared pravastatin and atorvastatin, at different doses, on carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) which is a measure commonly used as a surrogate for vascular atherosclerosis. One hundred and sixty one patients with known cardiovascular disease were randomly divided into a pravastatin (40mg/d) group (n=82) and an atorvastatin (80 mg/d) group (n=79). After one year the average LDL in the pravastatin group was 110 mg/dL and was 76 mg/dL in the atorvastatin group. The CIMT was stable in the pravastatin group while the atorvastatin group showed a regression in CIMT over 12 months. An aggressive reduction in LDL is an efficient way to induce the regression of atherosclerosis which may in turn lead to fewer coronary events.

    Pravastatin in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with kidney insufficiency8

    Since statins have been overwhelmingly shown to reduce cardiovascular disease in the general population, this study investigated the ability of statins to reduce cardiovascular events in patients with renal insufficiency (when the kidneys lose their ability to remove waste from the body). There were 1711 participants in this study who were identified as having chronic kidney insufficiency by having a creatinine clearance of =75 mL/min. Patients were given either pravastatin or placebo. Pravastatin was associated with a lower occurrence of major coronary events but there was not a difference in total mortality between the two groups. The incidence of side effects was similar in patients receiving pravastatin to those receiving placebo. A significant finding is that patients will see the observed benefits whether or not they have kidney insufficiency and regardless of its severity. Pravastatin is therefore a safe and effective method of secondary prevention for patients who have mild chronic kidney insufficiency.

    Fluvastatin and prevention of cardiac events after a successful, first percutaneous coronary intervention9 (LIPS study)

    Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is effective for short-term improvement in ischemic symptoms but has less long-term efficacy. Sixty percent of patients are free of a major adverse cardiac event (MACE) 5 years after PCI and only 33% after 10 years. The goal of this study was to assess whether fluvastatin reduces major cardiac events. A total of 1677 patients at 77 centers in Europe, Canada, and Brazil were studied. Eight hundred and forty four patients with unstable angina or silent ischemia after their first PCI were randomly assigned to receive 80 mg/d of fluvastatin and 833 a placebo. After a median follow-up time of 3.9 years 21.4% of the patients in the fluvastatin group had a MACE, compared to 26.7% in the placebo group. Also, there was a longer time before a MACE in the fluvistatin group. This study suggests that patients with average cholesterol levels will benefit from fluvistatin treatment after the first successful PCI. The LIPS study has also shown that patients treated with a stent and fluvistatin show a 28% reduction in MACE.

    Atorvastatin versus simvastatin on atherosclerosis progression (ASAP) study10,11

    The purpose of the ASAP study was to assess the difference of aggressive versus traditional cholesterol treatment on the progression of atherosclerosis in patients with familial high cholesterol. Three hundred and twenty five patients with a family history of high cholesterol were randomly divided into an aggressive group (atorvastatin) and a traditional treatment group (simvastatin). After two years of treatment, the progression of atherosclerosis was compared between the two groups. In one test, the levels of hs-CRP were lower in patients taking atorvastatin compared to simvastatin. hs-CRP is a good marker of inflammation in atherosclerotic vascular disease. In another test—a measurement of the carotid intima media thickness—the atorvastatin group showed a regression of atherosclerosis, whereas the simvastatin group did not. These results show that aggressive lowering of LDL was accompanied by a regression of atherosclerosis in the carotid artery but conventional LDL lowering by simvastatin did not show any benefit.

    The Benefit of Aggressive Lipid Lowering12 (AVERT study)

    This study examined 341 patients with stable coronary heart disease (CHD). They were randomly assigned to receive atorvastatin (80 md/d) and conventional treatment or angioplasty followed by usual care. The differences in LDL and subsequent ischemic events were compared between the two groups. The atorvastatin/conventional treatment group showed a 48% decrease in LDL compared to an 18% decrease following angioplasty. The atorvastatin group had fewer ischemic events (13% vs 21%, p=.048) and a longer time before the first ischemic event (p=.027) when compared with the angioplasty group. Therefore aggressive lipid lowering is beneficial in patients with existing CHD.

    Aggressive LDL lowering provides the greatest reduction in carotid atherosclerosis13

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects on atherosclerosis of lowering LDL well below the current recommended level of 100 mg/dL. The investigators used the carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) as an indicator of atherosclerosis progression. The study compared the effects of pravastatin (40 mg/d) and atorvastatin (80mg/d) among 161 patients. The final LDL level was directly correlated with the amount of CIMT regression. Sixty-one percent of subjects with final LDL levels of < 70 mg/dL showed a regression whereas only 29% of those with final LDL of = 114 mg/dL. The amount of atherosclerotic regression is directly related to absolute LDL level. The investigators recommend a lower National Cholesterol Education Program guideline.

    The relation between atherosclerotic progression and cholesterol levels14

    This study assessed the long-term (average of 18.3 months) progression or regression of atherosclerotic plaque in the left main coronary artery (LMCA) by intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). IVUS studies were performed on the LMCA of 60 patients. LDL and plaque progression were positively correlated (i.e. the more LDL, the more plaque). The researchers calculated that LDL levels below 75 mg/dL would not predict any progression of atheroclerosis (i.e. it would be essentially stopped, but not necessarily regress). Also, there was an negative correlation between HDL and plaque (i.e. more HDL less plaque). Therefore lower LDL (at least below 75 mg/dL) and higher HDL slows or halts progression of atherosclerosis. This study is particularly useful because unlike other similar studies it examined the effects of HDL cholesterol on atherosclerotic plaque.

    Last edited by rahod; 09-24-2004 at 07:24 PM.

     
    Old 09-24-2004, 07:53 PM   #29
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    Excellent article, Rahod.

    mark

     
    Old 09-24-2004, 08:33 PM   #30
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    Re: Is LDL of 100 low enough?

    More food for thought?

    "The Statins: Lipitor, Crestor, Advicor, Pravachol, and Zocor: Coronary Disease Prevention and Reversal
    Not being pedantic or pompous, please allow me to ask you a question. At what cholesterol level, or as an alternative, at what LDL (the bad cholesterol) level, does the atherosclerotic (hardening of the arteries) process start or stop in a population? Castelli, discussing the work of Nobel winners Brown and Goldstein, states that this value is 150 for total cholesterol.
    Another question. What is the “set point” (in milligrams percent) cholesterol at which value atherosclerosis occurs in any given person that on the other side of which atherosclerosis begins to reverse? The answer to this question is an unknowable in any given individual. In the Dean Ornish group, that value was 180. However in the absence of knowing such information concretely for each individual patient, I feel it is our obligation to view the population as a whole consistently and to understand and adhere therapeutically to those numbers where we know coronary artery disease stops in all patients: 150 or less.

    Since people with hardening of the arteries are already documented to be more susceptible, in the presence of documented coronary artery disease (or diabetes) a total cholesterol value of 130 or less is safer and is, in fact, what I believe epidemiology supports as the definition for “the natural human cholesterol.” 90-130 is the cholesterol range of virtually all pre-mechanical societies and is the value where no coronary artery disease exists even in these vast populations. I realize I have not discussed cholesterol fraction ratios, other risk factors, or how to achieve this value by medication, dosage, or diet. Mimicking this as a practice pattern, I guesstimate that there has been a 98% reduction of symptomatic coronary disease in my “old” patients. Said another way, of all the cardiac patients in my practice there is an average of only one invasive cardiac procedure a month. Many, truly most, of these patients had their “last” cardiac event 20 years ago or more. To achieve this, diet plus statins such as Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Zocor, and lovastatin (especially with niacin = Advicor and/or along with Zetia when taken in their maximal doses result in:

    LVH (excess heart muscle thickness) regression (reversal)
    Reduced arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and inhibition of macular degeneration
    Reversed excess carotid (artery) wall thickness
    Reduced death, plasty, AMI and stroke (like a whole foods diet)
    Debatably reduced bone fractures
    Reduced protein in the urine (microalbuminuria)
    Reduced blood pressure and the frequency of diabetes
    Reduced Cardiac (hs) CRP (a very important predictor of heart damage and death), tumor necrosis factor, and MMP-9 (matrix metalloproteinase)
    Improved endothelial (the lining of blood vessels) function
    Inhibition monocyte adhesion to the endothelium/migration
    Since statins reduce the body level of CoQ10, I recommend supplementing with 60-100 mg of a highly absorbable form of CoQ1O every day that you take a statin. "



    H. Robert Silverstein, M.D.
    Hartford, CT

    Last edited by rahod; 09-24-2004 at 08:39 PM.

     
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