Statin underuse and low prevalence of LDL-C control among U.S. adults at high risk of coronary heart disease

Am J Med Sci. 2014 Aug;348(2):108-14. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0000000000000292.


Background: Statins reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in individuals with a history of CHD or risk equivalents. A 10-year CHD risk >20% is considered a risk equivalent but is frequently not detected. Statin use and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) control were examined among participants with CHD or risk equivalents in the nationwide Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study (n = 8812).

Methods: Participants were categorized into 4 mutually exclusive groups: (1) history of CHD (n = 4025); (2) no history of CHD but with a history of stroke and/or abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) (n = 946); (3) no history of CHD or stroke/AAA but with diabetes mellitus (n = 3134); or (4) no history of the conditions in (1) through (3) but with 10-year Framingham CHD risk score (FRS) >20% calculated using the third Adult Treatment Panel point scoring system (n = 707).

Results: Statins were used by 58.4% of those in the CHD group and 41.7%, 40.4% and 20.1% of those in the stroke/AAA, diabetes mellitus and FRS >20% groups, respectively. Among those taking statins, 65.1% had LDL-C <100 mg/dL, with no difference between the CHD, stroke/AAA, or diabetes mellitus groups. However, compared with those in the CHD group, LDL-C <100 mg/dL was less common among participants in the FRS >20% group (multivariable adjusted prevalence ratio: 0.72; 95% confidence interval: 0.62-0.85). Results were similar using the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association cholesterol treatment guideline.

Conclusions: These data suggest that many people with high CHD risk, especially those with an FRS >20%, do not receive guideline-concordant lipid-lowering therapy and do not achieve an LDL-C <100 mg/dL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors