Racial differences in reaching target low-density lipoprotein goal among individuals treated with prescription statin therapy

Am Heart J. 2006 Oct;152(4):777-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2006.02.036.


Background: Studies indicate that, overall, African Americans are less likely to achieve control of hyperlipidemia compared with whites. No population-based studies have examined the effect of race on achieving target low-density lipoprotein (LDL) goals among treated individuals.

Methods: Using computerized encounter and laboratory result data, we identified all African American and white patients in a Midwestern health system filling a statin prescription from January 1, 1997, through June 30, 2001 (index prescription), with no prescriptions filled 1 year before index prescription. We followed LDL results for 1 year after index prescription.

Results: A total of 16052 new statin users (32.5% African American) were identified. Mean baseline LDL was higher for African Americans (170.2 +/- 36.6) than for whites (161.8 +/- 37.2) (P < .001). Whites were more adherent to therapy, with 48.6% of white patients exposed to statins >80% of follow-up time (31.2% of African Americans) (P < .001). By the end of follow-up, 49.5% of African Americans and 71.1% of whites reached LDL goal. A proportional hazards model adjusting for age, sex, median household income, physician specialty, clinic site, baseline LDL, starting dose, and target LDL indicated that African Americans were less likely to reach goal compared with whites (hazard ratio 0.64, 95% CI 0.61-0.68). Results persisted after controlling for racial differences in statin adherence and LDL testing (hazard ratio 0.60, 95% CI 0.57-0.63).

Conclusions: African American patients initiating statin therapy are less likely to achieve LDL goal, even after controlling for adherence differences and other factors, suggesting that African Americans may require different pharmacologic management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Black or African American*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hyperlipidemias / ethnology*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • White People*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Lipoproteins, LDL