Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Already have a low LDL? Lower risk further by raising HDL.

A sub-analysis of Torcetrapib/Atorvastatin Clinical Trial Program found that patients treated to LDL cholesterol levels that were below current medical guidelines showed a direct relationship between HDL cholesterol levels and the frequency of cardiovascular events.

"Clinicians know that HDL is important, but many think that it ceases to be important if we get LDL levels to below 100 mg/dL," chief investigator Philip Barter, MD, director of the Heart Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, stated.

"Our study, in which half the population achieved LDL levels below 80 mg/dL, clearly shows that even if LDL is low, HDL is still important," Dr. Barter said.

The study showed that every 1 mg/dL increase in HDL cholesterol concentration was associated with an approximate 2% reduction in the relative risk of a major cardiovascular event, even in those with LDL levels below 80 mg/dL.

Results indicated that 10% of such patients (those wwith LDLs below 80 mg/dL) with HDL levels below 38 mg/dL had a major event compared with 5% of those with HDL levels 55 mg/dL or higher. In addition, there was a 31% reduction in the risk of major events for every 1.0 reduction in the LDL-HDL cholesterol ratio.

"While lowering LDL cholesterol remains a critical focus in cardiovascular disease prevention, the TNT sub-analysis suggests that HDL cholesterol may also provide important therapeutic benefits that may result in further reductions in cardiovascular risk."

"If you look at all the LDL cholesterol–lowering studies, only 35% to 45% of patients benefit with a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, so clearly other factors are at play."

This is why pharmaceutical companies are rushing to bring new drugs that raise HDL to the market.


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