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Statin Eligibility in Primary Prevention: From a Risk-Based Strategy to a Personalized Approach Based on the Predicted Benefit

      Guidelines have recommended statin initiation based on the absolute cardiovascular risk. We tested the hypothesis that a strategy based on the predicted cardiovascular benefit, compared with the risk-based approach, modifies statin eligibility and the estimated benefit in a population in primary cardiovascular prevention. The study included 16,008 subjects (48 ± 6 years, 73% men) with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels of 70 to <190 mg/dl, not on lipid-lowering drugs, who underwent a routine health screening in a single center. For the risk-based strategy, criterion for statin eligibility was defined as a 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk of ≥7.5%. In the benefit-based strategy, subjects were considered for statin according to the predicted absolute cardiovascular risk reduction, so that the number of statin candidates would be the same as in the risk-based strategy. The benefit-based strategy would replace 11% of statin candidates allocated in the risk-based approach with younger, lower risk subjects with higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Using the benefit-based strategy, 13% of subjects with 5.0% to < 7.5% ASCVD risk would shift from a statin-ineligible to a statin-eligible status, whereas 24% of those with 7.5% to <10.0% ASCVD risk would become statin ineligible. These effects would transfer the benefit from higher to lower risk subjects. In the entire population, no clinically meaningful change in the benefit would be expected. In conclusion, switching from a risk-based strategy to a benefit-based approach, while keeping the same rate of statin use in the population, is expected to promote substantial changes in statin eligibility in subjects at intermediate cardiovascular risk, modifying the subpopulation to be benefited by the treatment.
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