Two statin drugs similarly effective in reversing coronary heart disease

November 15, 2011

Maximum doses of Crestor (rosuvastatin) or Lipitor (atorvastatin) are similarly effective in reversing the buildup of cholesterol plaques in the coronary artery walls (atherosclerosis) after 24 months of treatment, according to Cleveland Clinic researchers. The extent of reversal of atherosclerosis observed in this trial was unprecedented and was achieved with excellent drug safety.

The SATURN trial results were presented today by lead investigator and Cleveland Clinic researcher, Stephen Nicholls MD PhD., Cardiovascular Director of the Cleveland Clinic Coordinating Center for Clinical Research (C5) at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla., and simultaneously published in The .

The SATURN Trial included 1,039 patients -519 in the atorvastatin group and 520 in the rosuvastatin group. The study used intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging to compare the progression of after two years of treatment with these two drugs.

For the primary measure of efficacy, IVUS showed a 0.99 percent decrease in plaque burden with atorvastatin and a 1.22 percent decrease with rosuvastatin with no statistically significant differences between the regimens, p=0.17. A secondary endpoint, total plaque burden, did show greater reduction in plaque burden with rosuvastatin that was statistically significant, p=0.01.

The regimen produced moderately greater lowering of the LDL (bad) cholesterol (62.6 mg/dL vs. atorvastatin 70.2 mg/dL) and a greater increase in HDL (good) cholesterol (50.4 mg/dL vs. atorvastatin 48.6 mg/dL). There were few adverse events observed during the study and no patients experienced serious demonstrating that disease regression can be achieved with excellent safety.

"SATURN demonstrates that the highest doses of the most effective statins currently available is safe, well tolerated and produces marked plaque regression," said Dr. Nicholls. "The finding that these therapies produced low levels of LDL, raised HDL and removed plaque from the artery wall in a safe manner is positive news for patients with heart disease."

Dr. Nicholls served as Principal Investigator, and Steven Nissen served as Study Chairman for the Saturn Trial. Both are Cleveland Clinic physicians.

Explore further: New medication increases HDL cholesterol and decreases LDL cholesterol levels

Related Stories

New medication increases HDL cholesterol and decreases LDL cholesterol levels

November 15, 2011
Among patients with sub-optimal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, use of the drug evacetrapib alone or in combination with statin medications was associated ...

Recommended for you

Five vascular diseases linked to one common genetic variant

July 27, 2017
Genome-wide association studies have implicated a common genetic variant in chromosome 6p24 in coronary artery disease, as well as four other vascular diseases: migraine headache, cervical artery dissection, fibromuscular ...

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
not rated yet Nov 15, 2011
WHAT, no control? There are seldom any controls in these typical statin studies so we have no idea if the results are meaningful in real life. Likely because statins as a palliative do virtually nothing to reduce heart disease.
Sepp
not rated yet Nov 17, 2011
Reversing plaque is not the same as "reversing coronary heart disease". Please, headline writer, keep to the facts.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.