Context: Studies have demonstrated that statins administered to individuals with risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) reduce CHD events. However, many of these studies were too small to assess all-cause mortality or outcomes in important subgroups.
Objective: To determine whether pravastatin compared with usual care reduces all-cause mortality in older, moderately hypercholesterolemic, hypertensive participants with at least 1 additional CHD risk factor.
Design and setting: Multicenter (513 primarily community-based North American clinical centers), randomized, nonblinded trial conducted from 1994 through March 2002 in a subset of participants from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT).
Participants: Ambulatory persons (n = 10 355), aged 55 years or older, with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) of 120 to 189 mg/dL (100 to 129 mg/dL if known CHD) and triglycerides lower than 350 mg/dL, were randomized to pravastatin (n = 5170) or to usual care (n = 5185). Baseline mean total cholesterol was 224 mg/dL; LDL-C, 146 mg/dL; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 48 mg/dL; and triglycerides, 152 mg/dL. Mean age was 66 years, 49% were women, 38% black and 23% Hispanic, 14% had a history of CHD, and 35% had type 2 diabetes.
Intervention: Pravastatin, 40 mg/d, vs usual care.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was all-cause mortality, with follow-up for up to 8 years. Secondary outcomes included nonfatal myocardial infarction or fatal CHD (CHD events) combined, cause-specific mortality, and cancer.
Results: Mean follow-up was 4.8 years. During the trial, 32% of usual care participants with and 29% without CHD started taking lipid-lowering drugs. At year 4, total cholesterol levels were reduced by 17% with pravastatin vs 8% with usual care; among the random sample who had LDL-C levels assessed, levels were reduced by 28% with pravastatin vs 11% with usual care. All-cause mortality was similar for the 2 groups (relative risk [RR], 0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.89-1.11; P =.88), with 6-year mortality rates of 14.9% for pravastatin vs 15.3% with usual care. CHD event rates were not significantly different between the groups (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.79-1.04; P =.16), with 6-year CHD event rates of 9.3% for pravastatin and 10.4% for usual care.
Conclusions: Pravastatin did not reduce either all-cause mortality or CHD significantly when compared with usual care in older participants with well-controlled hypertension and moderately elevated LDL-C. The results may be due to the modest differential in total cholesterol (9.6%) and LDL-C (16.7%) between pravastatin and usual care compared with prior statin trials supporting cardiovascular disease prevention.