Lipid-lowering treatment intensity, persistence, adherence and goal attainment in patients with coronary heart disease

Am Heart J. 2022 Sep;251:78-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2022.05.021. Epub 2022 May 30.


Background: To examine patterns of lipid-lowering therapy (LLT) use, and persistence and adherence among patients with coronary heart disease and their associations with lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goal attainment.

Methods: Observational study among 26,768 patients who had suffered a myocardial infarction or had been revascularized in Stockholm during 2012 to 2018, and followed up through 2019. Outcomes included initiation of LLT, discontinuation, re-initiation, adherence to treatment and LDL-C goal attainment according to the European dyslipidaemia guidelines from 2011 and 2016 (mainly LDL-C <1.8 mmol/L).

Results: 82% of patients commenced or continued LLT within 90 days after discharge. Of those, 71% were dispensed an LLT prescription within 30 days (62% of them for high-intensity LLT). High-intensity LLT prescribing increased over time, from 12% in 2012 to 78% in 2018. During a median follow-up of 3 (IQR 2-5) years 73% continued to fill prescriptions for a statin, 26.3% temporarily or permanently discontinued, and 0.5% changed to non-statin LLT. Only 1.3% discontinued statin treatment permanently. Throughout observation, about 80% of patients showed good statin adherence (proportion of days covered ≥80%). LDL-C target attainment was 52% the first year and <50% during subsequent years. LDL-C goal attainment was highest among patients receiving high-intensity statin treatment and showing good treatment adherence.

Conclusion: In secondary prevention for patients with established coronary heart disease, the proportion of LDL-C target attainment was low throughout the time period of the study, despite increasing use of high-intensity LLT and good treatment persistence and adherence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Coronary Disease* / drug therapy
  • Dyslipidemias*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors