Context: The short-term effects of early treatment with statins in patients after the onset of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) for the outcomes of death, myocardial infarction (MI), and stroke are unclear.
Objective: To evaluate relevant outcomes of patients from randomized controlled trials comparing early statin therapy with placebo or usual care at 1 and 4 months following ACS.
Data sources and study selection: Systematic search of electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PASCAL, Cochrane Central Register) from their inception to August 2005, which was supplemented by contact with experts in the field. Two reviewers independently determined the eligibility of randomized controlled trials that compared treatment with statins with a control, were initiated within 14 days after onset of ACS, and had a minimal follow-up of 30 days. Trials with cerivastatin were only included in a sensitivity analysis.
Data extraction: Information on baseline characteristics of included trials and patients, reported methodological quality, lipid levels, and clinical outcome was independently extracted by 2 investigators. Investigators from each included trial contributed additional data if necessary.
Data synthesis: Twelve trials involving 13 024 patients with ACS were included in the meta-analysis. The risk ratios for the combined end point of death, MI, and stroke for patients treated with early statin therapy compared with control therapy were 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80-1.09; P = .39) at 1 month and 0.93 (95% CI, 0.81-1.07; P = .30) at 4 months following ACS. There were no statistically significant risk reductions from statins for total death, total MI, total stroke, cardiovascular death, fatal or nonfatal MI, or revascularization procedures (percutaneous coronary intervention or coronary artery bypass graft surgery). Sensitivity analyses with restriction to trials of high quality or with additional data from a large trial using cerivastatin indicated summary risk ratios even closer to 1.
Conclusion: Based on available evidence, initiation of statin therapy within 14 days following onset of ACS does not reduce death, MI, or stroke up to 4 months.