HIV-positive adults experiencing high cholesterol and triglyceride levels while taking antiretrovirals may benefit from intensified lipid-lowering therapy over standard medication dosing, according to a study in the April 8 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers studied 4,162 patients hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome, defined as chest pain resulting from angina or a heart attack, and discovered that intensified treatment containing 80 milligrams of Lipitor (atorvastatin) lowered LDL, or 'bad,' cholesterol levels significantly more than the standard treatment of 40 milligrams of Pravachol (pravastatin). Patients taking high-dose Lipitor achieved an average LDL cholesterol level of 62 milligrams per deciliter, while Pravachol recipients had an average LDL level of 95. National guidelines call for LDL cholesterol levels to be under 100 for high-risk patients.
While the study did not focus on HIV-positive adults, the results suggest higher doses of lipid-lowering drugs may benefit anyone at risk for cardiac disease because of high lipid counts.