Utilization of lipid lowering medications among adults in the United States 1999-2006

Atherosclerosis. 2010 Feb;208(2):456-60. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.08.001. Epub 2009 Aug 8.


Objective: We examined the use of lipid lowering medications and control of dyslipidemia among US adults in 1999-2006.

Methods: Data were extracted from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006.

Results: The mean low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) level significantly decreased from 3.25+/-0.03 mmol/L in 1999-2002 to 3.02+/-0.02 mmol/L in 2003-2006 in men, and from 3.11+/-0.03 to 2.98+/-0.03 mmol/L in women (p<0.001). Statins and fibrates were the most commonly used medications. Among those diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia, the proportion on treatment increased from 32.4% to 38.9% (p=0.001) in the 8-year period. The proportion of participants with a history of diabetes treated with a statin increased from 20.9+/-2.2% in 1999-2002 to 37.6+/-2.5% in 2003-2006 (p<0.001). However, only 39.9% of people with diabetes and 45.4% of people with ischemic heart disease (IHD) achieved LDL-C target levels.

Conclusions: Between 1999 and 2006, LDL-C level decreased in US adults and use of lipid lowering medications increased. More effort is still needed to detect and treat dyslipidemia in the community, particularly in people at high cardiovascular risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Risk
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Hypolipidemic Agents