Association of Baseline Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Percentage Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Reduction with Statins, Ezetimibe, and PCSK9 Inhibition

Daniel P. Marcusa, Robert P. Giugliano, Jeong Gun Park, James A. De Lemos, Christopher P. Cannon, Marc S. Sabatine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Importance: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is an important modifiable risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. It is unclear whether the percentage LDL-C lowering with pharmacotherapies differs on the basis of baseline LDL-C levels. Objective: To evaluate the association between baseline LDL-C levels and the percentage LDL-C reduction with a statin, ezetimibe, and a PCSK9 inhibitor. Design, Setting, and Participants: This secondary exploratory study analyzed data from 3 randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials (Aggrastat to Zocor-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 21 [A to Z-TIMI 21], Improved Reduction of Outcomes: Vytorin Efficacy International Trial [IMPROVE-IT], and Further Cardiovascular Outcomes Research With PCSK9 Inhibition in Subjects With Elevated Risk [FOURIER]) of lipid-lowering therapies (statin, ezetimibe, and a PCSK9 inhibitor) and included participants with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Analyses took place form April to October 2020. Interventions: In A to Z-TIMI 21, 1:1 randomization to simvastatin, 40 mg, daily for 30 days followed by 80 mg daily thereafter vs placebo for 4 months followed by simvastatin, 20 mg, daily thereafter. In IMPROVE-IT, 1:1 randomization to ezetimibe, 10 mg, daily plus simvastatin, 40 mg, daily vs placebo plus simvastatin, 40 mg, daily. In FOURIER, 1:1 randomization to evolocumab, 140 mg, every 2 weeks or 420 mg monthly vs matching placebo. Main Outcomes and Measures: The percentage LDL-C reduction at either 1 month (A to Z-TIMI 21, IMPROVE-IT) or 3 months (FOURIER) as a function of baseline LDL-C level. Data were modeled using a generalized linear regression model. Results: A total of 3187 patients from A to Z-TIMI 21, 10680 patients from IMPROVE-IT, and 25847 patients from FOURIER were analyzed. There was a higher percentage reduction in LDL-C levels with evolocumab in patients with lower baseline LDL-C levels, ranging from 59.4% (95% CI, 59.1%-59.8%) in patients with a baseline LDL-C level of 130 mg/dL to 66.1% (95% CI, 65.6%-66.6%) in patients with a baseline LDL-C level of 70 mg/dL (P <.001). In contrast, across the same range of baseline LDL-C level, there was a more modest difference for simvastatin (44.6% [95% CI, 43.9%-45.2%] vs 47.8% [95% CI, 46.4%-49.2%]; P <.001) and minimal difference with ezetimibe (25.0% [95% CI, 23.3%-26.6%] vs 26.2% [95% CI, 24.2%-28.1%]; P =.007). Conclusions and Relevance: The percentage LDL-C reduction with statins, ezetimibe, and PCSK9 inhibition is not attenuated in patients starting with lower baseline LDL-C levels and is 6.6% greater for PCSK9 inhibition. These data are encouraging for the use of intensive LDL-C-lowering therapy even for patients with lower LDL-C levels..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-586
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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