When to start cholesterol-lowering therapy in patients with coronary heart disease. A statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association Task Force on Risk Reduction

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Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

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Anticholesteremic Agents; *Cardiology; Coronary Disease; *Health Personnel; Humans; Risk Factors; *Societies, Medical; Time Factors; United States


Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Health Services Administration | Lipids | Pharmaceutical Preparations | Polycyclic Compounds | Preventive Medicine | Therapeutics


At present a large number of patients with atherosclerotic disease are not receiving aggressive cholesterol-lowering therapy. Consequently they are being deprived of a cost-effective, risk-reducing treatment. Every physician who treats patients with clinical atherosclerotic disease should become fully informed about the results of cholesterol-lowering trials in patients at high risk. All physicians who care for high-risk patients should take responsibility for cholesterol management, including primary care physicians and cardiovascular specialists. Highly effective and generally safe drugs for cholesterol lowering are available. The benefits of therapy for reducing recurrent CHD and prolonging life are considerable. There is no justification for unduly delaying institution of therapy for the majority of patients. The many advantages of nonpharmaceutical therapy call for its use in almost all patients, but drug treatment should not be postponed if the target for LDL cholesterol lowering (< or = 100 mg/dL) is unlikely to be achieved in the near term by a nonpharmaceutical approach alone. The view that patients with CHD or other forms of atherosclerotic disease do not receive substantial clinical benefits from aggressive cholesterol-lowering therapy is no longer warranted. Intensive cholesterol reduction, initiated immediately, has the potential to significantly reduce both morbidity and mortality. Cholesterol-lowering therapy thus should become a routine part of clinical management to reduce risk of future coronary events and to prolong life in patients with CHD or other forms of atherosclerotic disease.


cholesterol, drugs, diet, prevention, AHA Medical/Scientific Statements

DOI of Published Version



Circulation. 1997 Mar 18;95(6):1683-5.

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