This multicenter, 8-week, single-step titration, open-label study sought to assess the percentage of subjects who achieved their National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP ATP) III low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol target when assigned a starting dose of atorvastatin (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg) selected using an algorithm based on their 10-year CHD risk and the magnitude of LDL-cholesterol lowering necessary to reach goal. Following an 8-week washout period, 1298 subjects, categorized as low, medium, or high risk, were assigned to 4 weeks of treatment with a starting dose of atorvastatin selected by the algorithm. At week 4, subjects who did not achieve goal (15.8%) were titrated to the next-higher dose. The primary endpoint was the percentage of subjects in each risk group who achieved LDL-cholesterol goal at week 8. At 8 weeks, 84.8% of subjects (low risk 92.9%; moderate risk 84.0%; high risk 81.1%) achieved LDL-cholesterol target. The majority of patients (84.2%) achieved their lipid target through the use of the algorithm-based starting dose (10-80 mg) without the need for titration. No patient had elevations in creatine phosphokinase >10 times the upper limit of normal. Elevations in alanine aminotransaminase or aspartate aminotransaminase were observed in <1% of study subjects and were unrelated to dose. Selecting the starting dose of atorvastatin using a treatment algorithm achieves NCEP ATP III LDL-cholesterol goals in the majority of patients and minimizes the need for dose titration.