Objectives: This study sought to evaluate what set of factors correlate with higher or lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in patients receiving standard and intensive statin therapy.
Background: C-reactive protein levels in blood are becoming recognized as a potential means of monitoring cardiovascular risk. Although statin therapy is known to reduce CRP levels, many patients have a high CRP level despite statin therapy.
Methods: This study was a cross-sectional study of 2,885 patients from the Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy-Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction 22 (PROVE IT-TIMI 22) trial, which assessed the relationship between uncontrolled cardiovascular risk factors and CRP level at four months after enrollment.
Results: In a multivariate model, several risk factors were weakly but independently associated with higher CRP levels: age, gender (with or without hormone replacement therapy), body mass index >25 kg/m2, smoking, low-density lipoprotein > or =70 mg/dl, glucose >110 mg/dl, high-density lipoprotein <50 mg/dl, triglycerides >150 mg/dl, and the intensity of statin therapy. A direct relationship between the number of uncontrolled risk factors present and CRP levels (p < 0.0001) was observed for both statin regimens. Despite the presence of each uncontrolled risk factor, prior randomization to intensive statin therapy was associated with a lower CRP level (p < 0.0001). Across all strata, defined by the number of uncontrolled risk factors present, CRP levels were lower among those receiving intensive statin therapy.
Conclusions: The use of intensive statin therapy lead to a lower CRP level independent of the presence of single or multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Even among patients receiving intensive statin therapy, a lower CRP level was observed in patients with the fewest coronary risk factors present, suggesting that control of multiple risk factors may be a means to further achieve lower CRP levels.