Therapy with lovastatin should be a component of multiple risk factor intervention in those individuals with dyslipidemia at risk for atherosclerotic vascular disease. Lovastatin should be used in addition to a diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol as part of a treatment strategy to lower total-C and LDL-C to target levels when the response to diet and other nonpharmacological measures alone has been inadequate to reduce risk.
Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease
In individuals without symptomatic cardiovascular disease, average to moderately elevated total-C and LDL-C, and below average HDL-C, lovastatin is indicated to reduce the risk of:
– Myocardial infarction
– Unstable angina
– Coronary revascularization procedures
Coronary Heart Disease
Lovastatin is indicated to slow the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with coronary heart disease as part of a treatment strategy to lower total-C and LDL-C to target levels.
Hypercholesterolemia Therapy with lipid-altering agents should be a component of multiple risk factor intervention in those individuals at significantly increased risk for atherosclerotic vascular disease due to hypercholesterolemia. Lovastatin is indicated as an adjunct to diet for the reduction of elevated total-C and LDL-C levels in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (Types IIa and IIb2), when the response to diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol and to other nonpharmacological measures alone has been inadequate.
2 Classification of Hyperlipoproteinemias
|V (rare)||chylomicrons, VLDL||TG||↑→C|
|IDL = intermediate-density lipoprotein.|
Adolescent Patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Lovastatin is indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce total-C, LDL-C and apolipoprotein B levels in adolescent boys and girls who are at least one year post-menarche, 10 to 17 years of age, with heFH if after an adequate trial of diet therapy the following findings are present:
- LDL-C remains greater than 189 mg/dL or
- LDL-C remains greater than 160 mg/dL and:
- there is a positive family history of premature cardiovascular disease or
- two or more other CVD risk factors are present in the adolescent patient
General Recommendations Prior to initiating therapy with lovastatin, secondary causes for hypercholesterolemia (e.g., poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, nephrotic syndrome, dysproteinemias, obstructive liver disease, other drug therapy, alcoholism) should be excluded, and a lipid profile performed to measure total-C, HDL-C, and TG. For patients with TG less than 400 mg/dL (less than 4.5 mmol/L), LDL-C can be estimated using the following equation:
LDL-C = total-C – [0.2 × (TG) + HDL-C]
For TG levels greater than 400 mg/dL (greater than 4.5 mmol/L), this equation is less accurate and LDL-C concentrations should be determined by ultracentrifugation. In hypertriglyceridemic patients, LDL-C may be low or normal despite elevated total-C. In such cases, lovastatin is not indicated.
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Treatment Guidelines are summarized below:
|LDL-C Goals and Cutpoints for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes|
|and Drug Therapy in Different Risk Categories|
|Risk Category||LDL Goal||Initiate Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes||Consider Drug Therapy|
|LDL Level at Which to||LDL Level at Which to|
|CHD † or CHD risk equivalents||<100||≥100||≥130|
|(10-year risk >20%)||(100-129: drug optional) ††|
|2 + Risk factors||<130||≥ 130||10-year risk 10 to 20%: ≥130|
|(10 year risk ≤20%)||10-year risk <10%: ≥160|
|0 to 1 Risk factor †††||<160||≥ 160||≥ 190|
|(160 to 189: LDL-lowering|
|† CHD, coronary heart disease|
|†† Some authorities recommend use of LDL-lowering drugs in this category if an LDL-C level of <100 mg/dL cannot be achieved by therapeutic lifestyle changes. Others prefer use of drugs that primarily modify triglycerides and HDL-C, e.g., nicotinic acid or fibrate. Clinical judgment also may call for deferring drug therapy in this subcategory.|
|††† Almost all people with 0 to 1 risk factor have a 10-year risk <10%; thus, 10-year risk assessment in people with 0 to 1 risk factor is not necessary.|
After the LDL-C goal has been achieved, if the TG is still greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL, non-HDL-C (total-C minus HDL-C) becomes a secondary target of therapy. Non-HDL-C goals are set 30 mg/dL higher than LDL-C goals for each risk category.
At the time of hospitalization for an acute coronary event, consideration can be given to initiating drug therapy at discharge if the LDL-C is greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL (see NCEP Guidelines above).
Since the goal of treatment is to lower LDL-C, the NCEP recommends that LDL-C levels be used to initiate and assess treatment response. Only if LDL-C levels are not available, should the total-C be used to monitor therapy.
Although lovastatin may be useful to reduce elevated LDL-C levels in patients with combined hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia where hypercholesterolemia is the major abnormality (Type IIb hyperlipoproteinemia), it has not been studied in conditions where the major abnormality is elevation of chylomicrons, VLDL or IDL (i.e., hyperlipoproteinemia types I, III, IV, or V). 2
The NCEP classification of cholesterol levels in pediatric patients with a familial history of hypercholesterolemia or premature cardiovascular disease is summarized below:
|Category||Total-C (mg/dL)||LDL-C (mg/dL)|
|Borderline||170 to 199||110 to 129|
Children treated with lovastatin in adolescence should be re-evaluated in adulthood and appropriate changes made to their cholesterol-lowering regimen to achieve adult goals for LDL-C.
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