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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 06/29/01
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Study Shows Cholesterol-lowering Drug Cost Effective in Heart Attack Patients

Cincinnati--Giving heart attack survivors the cholesterol-lowering drug pravastatin prevents recurrent events and is generally cost-effective, said principal investigator Joel Tsevat, MD, MPH, associate professor, Section of Outcomes Research, Division of General Medicine and the Institute for Health Policy and Health Services Research at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center, and Director of Health Services Research & Development, Veterans Healthcare System of Ohio. Results of this study were recently published in the American Heart Journal.

Tsevat and his colleagues analyzed the cost-effectiveness of pravastatin therapy in patients who had experienced a heart attack, but had average, as opposed to high, cholesterol levels. The analysis showed that pravastatin therapy was about as cost-effective as other treatments for patients with coronary heart disease, such as clot-busting drugs and cardiac rehabilitation.

According to the study, the cost-effectiveness of pravastatin treatment was more favorable for patients over age 60 and for patients with pretreatment low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels greater than 125 mg/dl. "Our study also suggests that giving statin medications to heart attack survivors (with average cholesterol levels) is as cost-effective or more cost-effective than it is in preventing new-onset coronary heart disease in patients with high cholesterol levels and multiple risk factors for coronary heart disease," Tsevat said.

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in developed countries. In the United States, nearly 460,000 people die of coronary heart disease each year, and the annual cost of treating coronary heart disease is $55.2 billion.

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