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AHA: Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin Help Reverse CAD

Study finds that these medications at high doses reduce plaque

TUESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Two statins, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin, appear to reverse the progression of coronary artery disease when administered at high doses, apparently by reducing arterial plaque, according to research published online Nov. 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in Orlando, Fla.

Stephen J. Nicholls, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues assigned 1,039 patients with coronary artery disease to either atorvastatin, 80 mg daily, or rosuvastatin, 40 mg daily, to compare the effect of the two statins on reversing the progression of coronary atherosclerosis. The two agents were also assessed for safety and side effects.

The researchers found that, at 104 weeks, the rosuvastatin group had lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and higher high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels compared with the atorvastatin group (62.6 versus 70.2 mg/dL and 50.4 versus 48.6 mg/dL, respectively). Percent atheroma volume (PAV) decreased by 0.99 percent in the atorvastatin group and by 1.22 percent in the rosuvastatin group. Regression was seen in 63.2 and 68.5 percent of the atorvastatin and rosuvastatin groups, respectively. Both agents were acceptably tolerated and safe.

"Maximal doses of rosuvastatin and atorvastatin resulted in significant regression of coronary atherosclerosis. Despite the lower level of LDL cholesterol and the higher level of HDL cholesterol achieved with rosuvastatin, a similar degree of regression of PAV was observed in the two treatment groups," the authors write.

The study was funded by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals; several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca.

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