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Impact of Female Sex on Lipid Lowering, Clinical Outcomes, and Adverse Effects in Atorvastatin Trials

Published:November 29, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.11.026
      The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of atorvastatin on lipid lowering, cardiovascular (CV) events, and adverse events in women compared with men in 6 clinical trials. In the Incremental Decrease in End Points Through Aggressive Lipid Lowering (IDEAL) trial (atorvastatin 80 mg vs simvastatin 20 to 40 mg), the Treating to New Targets (TNT) trial (atorvastatin 80 vs 10 mg), the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) trial (atorvastatin 80 mg vs placebo), and the Collaborative Atorvastatin Diabetes Study (CARDS), the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial (ASCOT), and the Atorvastatin Study for Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease Endpoints in Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (ASPEN) (atorvastatin 10 mg vs placebo), lipid changes on treatment were compared between genders with studies grouped by dose. The association of on-study low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and CV events by gender was evaluated in the combined studies and the impact of gender on adverse events in each study separately. Major CV events occurred in 3,083 of 30,000 men (10.3%) and 823 of 9,173 women (9.0%). Changes in lipids were similar in women and men. Major CV events were associated with gender-specific quintiles of on-treatment LDL cholesterol for women and men. In women, LDL cholesterol was a significant predictor of stroke, but not in men. Discontinuation rates due to adverse events were higher in women in 4 of 6 trials, but in only 1 trial was a significant treatment-gender interaction seen. Myalgia rates were slightly higher in women in both statin and placebo groups. In conclusion, the response of women to atorvastatin was similar to that of men, with slightly more discontinuations due to adverse events. Higher on-treatment LDL cholesterol was significantly associated with more CV events in both genders, but the association was stronger for stroke in women and for coronary heart disease death in men.
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