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Statin prescription patterns, adherence, and attainment of cholesterol treatment goals in routine clinical care: a Danish population-based study

Authors Svensson E, Beck Nielsen R, Hasvold P, Aarskog P, Thomsen RW

Received 26 November 2014

Accepted for publication 7 January 2015

Published 26 February 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 213—223


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen

Elisabeth Svensson,1 Rikke Beck Nielsen,1 Pål Hasvold,2 Pernilla Aarskog,2 Reimar W Thomsen1

1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 2AstraZeneca Nordic Baltic, Södertälje, Sweden

Purpose: To examine the annual rate and cumulative prevalence of statin use in Denmark 2004–10, including adherence of use and attainment of cholesterol targets.
Methods: We included all individuals aged 18–86 years with a first statin prescription in Northern Denmark in 2004–10. We calculated the annual rate and cumulative prevalence of statin use. We examined cholesterol values before and after start of statins and the proportion reaching targets according to European guidelines and cardiovascular risk group.
Results: The study population consisted of 161,646 new statin users (51% men; median age 62 years). The peak rate of new statin initiators occurred in 2008, and a cumulative prevalence of 94 users per 1,000 population was reached in 2010. In total, 98% of new users started with simvastatin. Eighty-eight percent (142,897) did not switch statin type during follow-up. Overall persistence was 84%. The reduction in median total cholesterol in new statin users was 28% (from 6.3 mmol/L to 4.5 mmol/L), while it was 43% (from 4.0 mmol/L to 2.3 mmol/L) for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Among patients with very high cardiovascular risk, 66% attained the recommended total cholesterol target; corresponding figures were 74% among high-risk patients and 80% among low- to moderate-risk patients. Corresponding figures for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were 54%, 82%, and 88%, respectively.
Conclusions: Statin use has become very prevalent in Danish adults, with high adherence. Cholesterol reduction after statin initiation is similar to that found in clinical trials, yet a substantial proportion of patients does not reach target cholesterol levels.

Keywords: statin, cholesterol attainment, Denmark, persistence

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