Romanelli RJ, Ito MK, Karalis DG, Huang HC, Iorga SR, Kam IW, Thompson S, Azar KMJ., J Clin Lipidol. pii: S1933-2874(20)30068-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2020.03.006. [Epub ahead of print], 2020 Apr 10
BACKGROUND: A better understanding of patterns in statin utilization and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) among patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in a clinical practice setting is needed.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to examine statin utilization and LDL-C among new statin users with ASCVD.
METHODS: This retrospective study used an electronic health record database from a community-based health care system. We identified ASCVD patients ≥21 years of age with a new statin prescription during the study period (2002-2016). Outcomes included high-intensity statin therapy (HIST) prescribing at treatment initiation, medication adherence (defined as proportion of days covered ≥0.80), statin therapy titrations rates, and changes in LDL-C during follow-up.
RESULTS: Among 6199 eligible patients, mean follow-up was 16.8 months. At treatment initiation, 16.6% of patients received HIST. Approximately 53% of patients were adherent to statin regimens. Mean percent reduction in LDL-c was 25% during follow-up; 18% of patients, overall, and 30% of those initiating on HIST attained LDL-C reductions >50%. Rates of statin intensity-level increases were 8.4 per 100 person-years. HIST prescribing increased over time, beginning after generic atorvastatin availability and preceded treatment guidelines by two years. Initiation on HIST, higher adherence, and treatment intensification during follow-up were independent predictors of attaining LDL-C goals of <70 mg/dL or <100 mg/dL.
CONCLUSIONS: In a community-based health care system, modest LDL-C lowering for secondary ASCVD prevention is likely driven by suboptimal adherence and low HIST prescribing and treatment intensification rates. Clinician and patient education are needed to reduce clinical inertia and improve medication adherence to better manage ASCVD.