Comparison of Benefits and Risks of Rosuvastatin Versus Atorvastatin from a Meta-Analysis of Head-to-Head Randomized Controlled Trials

Published:September 22, 2008DOI:
      The benefit from statin therapy is proportional to the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol reduction. However, adverse events appear to be related to dose rather than LDL cholesterol reduction. Although serious side effects are rare, any comparison of statins requires scrutiny of the relation between therapeutic effect and risk of side effects. This report sought to determine whether the additional LDL cholesterol lowering with rosuvastatin over atorvastatin could be obtained without increased risk of short-term adverse events. Twenty-five studies (∼20,000 patients) were identified that provided 28 comparisons of 1:1 dose ratios, 20 comparisons of 1:2 dose ratios, and 6 comparisons of 1:4 dose ratios. Treatment difference in benefit (percentage of LDL cholesterol reduction) and risk (odds ratios for myalgia, increased alanine aminotransferase >3 times the upper limit of normal, creatine kinase >10 times the upper limit of normal, and percentage of change in glomerular filtration rate, as well as deaths, serious adverse events, and withdrawals caused by adverse events) were estimated using meta-analysis and presented in benefit–risk planes. Rosuvastatin was more efficacious than the same dose of atorvastatin (1:1 dose ratio) or a 2 times higher dose (1:2 dose ratio) of atorvastatin. There was no significant difference between rosuvastatin and a 4 times higher dose of atorvastatin (1:4 dose ratio). There were no significant differences between rosuvastatin and atorvastatin at any dose ratio for adverse events. Percentages of change in GFR improved significantly with both treatments. In conclusion, at 1:1 and 1:2 dose ratios, significant additional decreases in LDL cholesterol were obtained using rosuvastatin compared with atorvastatin at a similar risk of the adverse events presented.
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