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Statin Cuts Post-Heart Attack Heart Failure Risk

High-dose atorvastatin beats usual care simvastatin in post-myocardial infarction patients

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Aggressive cholesterol-lowering therapy using high-dose atorvastatin was more effective at preventing heart failure among patients who had had a previous heart attack than usual treatment with simvastatin, according to a study published in the May 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Timo E. Strandberg, M.D., of the University of Oulu in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues focused on a group of patients drawn from the Incremental Decrease in End Points Through Aggressive Lipid Lowering study who had prior heart attacks and were receiving either intensive cholesterol-lowering therapy using high-dose atorvastatin (80 mg/day) or usual treatment consisting of simvastatin (20 to 40 mg/day). The researchers compared the incidence of heart failure in the two treatment groups.

The researchers note that there were 222 hospitalizations for heart failure during the study, 57 among patients with heart failure at baseline and 165 in those without heart failure. One-hundred-twenty-three of the heart failure incidents occurred in the simvastatin group and 99 in the atorvastatin group (hazard ratio, 0.81). After adjustment, the atorvastatin therapy was associated with a 26 percent decrease in heart failure events compared with simvastatin therapy (hazard ratio, 0.74).

"In conclusion, atorvastatin 80 mg was more efficient than simvastatin 20 to 40 mg in preventing development of heart failure in patients with previous myocardial infarction," the authors write.

The study was sponsored by Pfizer.

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