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BACKGROUND: Drug combinations rather than increasing doses of one drug can achieve greater efficacy and lower risks. Thus, as an alternative to high-intensity statin monotherapy, moderate-intensity statin with ezetimibe combination therapy can lower LDL cholesterol concentrations effectively while reducing adverse effects. However, evidence from randomised trials to compare long-term clinical outcomes is needed.
METHODS: In this randomised, open-label, non-inferiority trial, patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) at 26 clinical centres in South Korea were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either moderate-intensity statin with ezetimibe combination therapy (rosuvastatin 10 mg with ezetimibe 10 mg) or high-intensity statin monotherapy (rosuvastatin 20 mg). The primary endpoint was the 3-year composite of cardiovascular death, major cardiovascular events, or non-fatal stroke, in the intention-to-treat population with a non-inferiority margin of 2·0%. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03044665 and is complete.
FINDINGS: Between Feb 14, 2017, and Dec 18, 2018, 3780 patients were enrolled: 1894 patients to the combination therapy group and 1886 to the high-intensity statin monotherapy group. The primary endpoint occurred in 172 patients (9·1%) in the combination therapy group and 186 patients (9·9%) in the high-intensity statin monotherapy group (absolute difference -0·78%; 90% CI -2·39 to 0·83). LDL cholesterol concentrations of less than 70 mg/dL at 1, 2, and 3 years were observed in 73%, 75%, and 72% of patients in the combination therapy group, and 55%, 60%, and 58% of patients in the high-intensity statin monotherapy group (all p<0·0001). Discontinuation or dose reduction of the study drug by intolerance was observed in 88 patients (4·8%) and 150 patients (8·2%), respectively (p<0·0001).
INTERPRETATION: Among patients with ASCVD, moderate-intensity statin with ezetimibe combination therapy was non-inferior to high-intensity statin monotherapy for the 3-year composite outcomes with a higher proportion of patients with LDL cholesterol concentrations of less than 70 mg/dL and lower intolerance-related drug discontinuation or dose reduction.
FUNDING: Hanmi Pharmaceutical.
|Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)|
|General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)|
As a GP, these results could be useful in reducing CV risk in patients who cannot tolerate high-dose statins. I was particularly encouraged to see that partients on both tablets did not have-higher discontinuation than those on high-dose statins.
As a primary care physician, these results are mostly useful in patients who are unable to tolerate high-intensity statin therapy. Combination therapy was non-inferior and appeared superior on some surrogate measures (LDL<70, therapy stopped due to adverse events). The patients who were randomized to combination therapy had numerically fewer of the combined outcome, but did have more deaths due to cardiovascular disease and more total deaths.
Useful info for patients who cannot tolerate high-dose statins.