Relating statin therapy to C-reactive protein levels.

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2005 Aug;6(9):1597-600.  

Doggrell SA.
Division of Health Practice, Auckland University of Technology-Akoranga Campus, Northcote, Auckland, New Zealand. 

Inflammation is pivotal in atherosclerosis, and C-reactive protein (CRP) is an inflammatory marker that predicts cardiovascular events. The Reversal of Atherosclerosis with Aggressive Lipid Lowering (REVERSAL) trial compared the standard lowering of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol with pravastatin 40 mg/day, with the intense lowering of LDL-cholesterol with atorvastatin 80 mg/day on atheroma volume in patients with coronary artery disease, and showed that the atheroma progressed by 2.7% in the pravastatin group, and remained unchanged in the atorvastatin group. At 18 months follow-up, the CRP levels were reduced from a baseline level of 2.8 mg/l to 1.8 mg/l by atorvastatin, whereas pravastatin had little effect, and there was a good correlation between both the ultrasonographic progression of disease and the reduction in CRP levels. The Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy–Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 22 (PROVE IT-TIMI 22) trial compared the long-term effects of the standard lowering of LDL-cholesterol with pravastatin, with the intense lowering of LDL-cholesterol with atorvastatin in patients with an acute coronary syndrome. The primary end point was the first of death, myocardial infarction, unstable angina requiring hospitalisation, revascularisation or stroke, and, at the end of 2 years, was greater in the pravastatin than the atorvastatin group (26.3 versus 22.4%, respectively). Patients with CRP levels of 2 mg/l had lower rates of recurrent myocardial infarction or death from coronary causes than patients with higher levels. Further analysis should be undertaken to assess cardiovascular risk at different levels of CRP, including assessing cardiovascular risk at different levels in men and women. Definitive results about the importance of lowering CRP levels are not likely to be obtained until the results of the Justification for Use of Statins in Primary Prevention, an Intervention Trial in Evaluating Rosuvastatin (JUPITER) study are published.