Statins for Children with Familial Hypercholesterolemia Have Long-Term Benefits

(HealthDay News) — Long-term statin use among children with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is associated with normalization of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) progression, according to a research letter published online September 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

D. Meeike Kusters, MD, from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues followed a cohort of 214 children heterozygous for FH who were enrolled in a two-year randomized trial of pravastatin (randomization from 1997–1999). After the trial, all received pravastatin, and they were followed until March 2011. After 10 years, 194 participants with FH and 83 unaffected siblings underwent evaluations.

The researchers found that the mean carotid IMT was significantly greater in patients with FH than in siblings (0.48 vs. 0.469mm). Similar progression of carotid IMT from baseline was observed in the two groups (0.039 vs. 0.037mm; P=0.52). There was a significant correlation between age at statin initiation and carotid IMT at follow-up among patients with FH. Eighty-four percent of patients with FH were still using lipid-lowering medication, and 79% took ≥80% of their medication in the previous month.

“More robust lipid-lowering therapy or earlier initiation of statins may be required to completely restore arterial wall morphology and avert cardiovascular events later in life in this high-risk population,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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