Cumulative clinical trial data on atorvastatin for reducing cardiovascular events: the clinical impact of atorvastatin

Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 Apr;24(4):1217-29. doi: 10.1185/030079908x292001. Epub 2008 Mar 20.


Background: Since the 1990s a multitude of statin trials have definitively demonstrated the ability of statin therapy to reduce the risk of adverse coronary heart disease (CHD) events. Among these, the Atorvastatin Landmarks program - a group of 32 major atorvastatin trials - has assessed the efficacy and safety of atorvastatin across its full dose range and has helped illustrate its effectiveness in treatment of cardiovascular disease and its related disorders and also in non-cardiovascular outcomes.

Scope: This paper will review the major atorvastatin clinical trials and report the important findings and their clinical significance.

Findings: Clinical trials with atorvastatin have established significant reductions in cardiovascular events in patients with and without CHD. Studies show that high-dose atorvastatin will reduce LDL to approximately 70 mg/dL in many patients and improve cardiac outcomes. Current evidence suggests that high-dose atorvastatin can halt and, in some cases, reverse atherosclerotic progression. A study of diabetic patients showed atorvastatin decreased the occurrence of acute CHD events, coronary revascularizations, and stroke. Atorvastatin has been found to be effective for reducing nonfatal myocardial infarctions and fatal CHD in hypertensive patients with three or more additional risk factors. High-dose atorvastatin was found to be effective in reducing risk of recurrent stroke in patients with prior cerebrovascular events, has been shown to benefit patients suffering a recent acute coronary syndrome, and to slow cognitive decline in preliminary studies of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Atorvastatin has been associated with reduced progression of mild chronic kidney disease; however, in a randomized trial of patients with end stage renal disease on hemodialysis, atorvastatin showed no statistically significant benefit. Limitations of this review include lack of generalizability of the atorvastatin trial data to other statins, lack of head to head outcome trials involving the newer more potent statins, and the relatively short study durations (none exceeded 5 years) when atherosclerosis is typically a decades-long disease.

Conclusion: A compelling body of evidence documents that atorvastatin reduces major cardiovascular events in both secondary and primary prevention of CHD and in a broad range of patients and disease conditions. Furthermore, throughout its dose range, atorvastatin is safe and well tolerated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Atorvastatin
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / drug effects
  • Coronary Artery Disease / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Disease Progression
  • Heptanoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / prevention & control


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin