Statin non-adherence: Clinical consequences and proposed solutions

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Large controlled clinical trials have demonstrated reductions with statin therapy in cardiovascular events in patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes and stable coronary heart disease and individuals at high risk of a cardiovascular event. In trials of acute coronary syndromes and stable coronary heart disease, high-intensity statin therapy is more effective in the prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events than low-intensity statin therapy. Thus, evidence-based guidelines recommend in-hospital initiation of high-intensity statin therapy for all acute coronary syndrome patients. Clinical trials report high adherence to and low discontinuation of high-intensity statin therapy; however, in clinical practice, high-intensity statins are prescribed to far fewer patients, who often discontinue their statin after the first refill. A coordinated effort among the patient, provider, pharmacist, health system, and insurer is necessary to improve utilization and persistence of prescribed medications. The major cause for statin discontinuations reported by patients is perceived adverse events. Evaluation of potential adverse events requires validated tools to distinguish between statin-associated adverse events versus non-specific complaints. Treatment options for statin-intolerant patients include the use of a different statin, often at a lower dose or frequency. In order to lower LDL cholesterol, lower doses of statins may be combined with ezetimibe or bile acid sequestrants. Newer treatment options for patients with statin-associated muscle symptoms may include proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number714
StatePublished - 2016


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