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Early Statin Therapy for Cardiac Events Reduces Deaths

Benefits are evident between four and 12 months of treatment

MONDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with acute coronary syndrome, early intensive use of statins can reduce death and cardiovascular events after four months of use, according to a study in the Sept. 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Eddie Hulten, M.D., M.P.H., of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 13 randomized, controlled trials involving 17,963 adults who were given statin therapy within 14 days of hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome.

The benefits in terms of reduced cardiovascular events, particularly cardiovascular death, unstable angina and revascularization, began to accrue between four and 12 months, and remained for up to two years. Over the course of two years' follow-up, there was an almost 20 percent reduction in adverse coronary events.

"There is no significant evidence that reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level explains these beneficial effects," the authors write. "The dosing regimen with the most evidence for beneficial effects to date is 80-mg atorvastatin, begun within 14 days of hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome. Our analysis was limited in its ability to explore the sources of heterogeneity in these data. We recommend that a pooled analysis using patient-level data be performed as soon as possible," they conclude.

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