Objective: Statins are known to reduce CRP concentrations, but whether high doses are more effective is not known.
Methods: In a prospective double-blind multicenter study in 186 DM2 patients without manifest coronary artery disease and with dyslipidemia, the effect of a 30-week treatment with 10 and 80 mg atorvastatin or placebo on the reduction of hs-CRP levels was measured.
Results: Median CRP levels increased with 6.6% in the placebo group and were reduced by 15 and 47%, respectively, with atorvastatin 10 and 80 mg (P<0.001; significantly different from 10 mg atorvastatin and from placebo (P<0.001). Variation in IL-6 and plasma lipids associated for 21 and 8%, respectively, with variation in CRP levels (P<0.001 and P=0.01). Of patients with a baseline CRP level above an arbitrary threshold of 3.0 mg/l, 56% in the 80 mg atorvastatin group reached a level of less than 3.0 mg/l, versus 23% randomized to 10 mg atorvastatin (P<0.01) and 17% in the placebo group (P<0.005).
Conclusions: In DM2 patients high dose atorvastatin induced a strong reduction in CRP levels. The decrease in CRP was mainly independent of effects on lipid lowering and changes in IL-6 levels. The pleiotropic effect of high-dose atorvastatin on inflammation could add to its cardioprotective effect in high-risk patients.