Patients and their families always ask me will lowering my cholesterol end up shrinking or reducing the extent of blockages in my heart, leg, or neck arteries. My answer is maybe. There is evidence that using Crestor, researchers were able to document a small amount of plaque regression with very low LDLs. I tell my patients that more important than plaque regression is plaque stabilization. Unstable plaques crack and lead to acute events (heart attacks and strokes).
A new study recently presented at the Society for Vascular Surgery 2009 Vascular Annual Meeting reported that after twelve months of Lipitor therapy, patients with LDL levels < 70 had significantly more carotid plaque stabilization that patients with LDLs 70-100.\
This is important for a few reasons:
- It seems that ability of statins to stabilize a plaque is not compound dependent but class dependent. (ie: its not which statin you use, but is the statin you are using lowering your LDL below 70)
- Plaque stabilization does occur and probably explains why patients with very low LDLs have the lowest event rates