The results of a follow-up
analysis of the landmark Long-Term Intervention with Pravastatin in Ischaemic
Disease (LIPID) study provide important new evidence regarding the benefits of
cholesterol-lowering treatment with pravastatin for women with a prior history
of coronary heart disease.
The study, titled "Long-Term Treatment With Pravastatin Reduces Coronary
Heart Disease Mortality in Women With Prior Coronary Heart Disease and Average
Cholesterol Levels," demonstrates that women with a prior history of coronary
heart disease and average cholesterol levels who were placed on pravastatin
had a significant 31% reduction in coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths when
compared to the women in the study who were initially assigned to placebo. In
absolute terms, CHD deaths were reduced from 9.9% in those on placebo to 6.7%
for those given pravastatin. The results of the study were presented today at
the 50th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology
(ACC) being held in Orlando.
"On a world-wide basis, heart attacks are responsible for killing millions
of women," said Professor Andrew Tonkin, Director, Health/Medical and
Scientific Affairs, National Heart Foundation and LIPID study investigator.
"The results of the LIPID follow-up study provide strong evidence regarding
the benefits and safety of pravastatin therapy for women with established
heart disease. This is good news for women who want to take preventive
measures to avoid further adverse events from heart disease."
The LIPID study was originally designed as a 6-year, double blind placebo
controlled study, consisting of 9,014 male and female patients who had either
suffered a heart attack or had a history of unstable angina (severe chest
pains). Half of these patients were placed on pravastatin, and half received
placebo. At the conclusion of the trial, investigators conducted an
additional two-year follow up analysis of patients from the original study.
In the follow-up study, 85 percent of patients in each of the original
groups were placed on pravastatin therapy. During this two-year follow up
period, investigators determined that in addition to reductions in coronary
heart disease deaths, women who had been assigned initial pravastatin also had
a significant 29 percent reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease.
With more than 9,000 people enrolled in 87 centers throughout Australia
and New Zealand, LIPID is the most comprehensive database on the effects of a
statin in women with coronary heart disease. LIPID was conducted under the
auspices of the National Heart Foundation of Australia and coordinated by the
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney.
"This study shows that over a period of more than eight years, women who
took long-term pravastatin clearly benefited with 32 deaths from coronary
heart disease prevented for every 1000 women treated," said Professor John
Simes, LIPID investigator and director of the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre at
the University of Sydney. "Since heart disease is so prevalent in women as
they get older, it is important that women as well as men, do as much as they
can to prevent cardiovascular events. This is now clear evidence that taking
pravastatin for an extended period can help women with existing heart disease
safely reduce their risk of dying from coronary events."