What is the role of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in the treatment of noncoronary atherosclerosis?

Updated: Dec 23, 2019
  • Author: F Brian Boudi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Yasmine S Ali, MD, FACC, FACP, MSCI  more...
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These agents are competitive inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl Co-A reductase, an enzyme that catalyzes the rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis, resulting in up-regulation of LDL receptors in response to the decrease in intracellular cholesterol. The HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors are indicated for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events and for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and mixed dyslipidemia.

A number of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors are indicated for patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering treatments. One study suggests that the maximal doses of rosuvastatin and atorvastatin resulted in significant regression of coronary atherosclerosis. Although rosuvastatin resulted in lower LDL cholesterol levels and higher HDL cholesterol levels, a similar degree of regression of percent atheroma value (PAV) was observed in the two groups. [17] However, these agents may be less effective in patients with rare homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, possibly because these patients are lacking functional LDL receptors, making it more likely to raise serum transaminases.

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors include the following:

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