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Previous studies have demonstrated that early statin therapy after acute coronary syndrome decreases inflammation and mortality rates. The dose–response relationship for atorvastatin in elderly patients with unstable angina (UA) during early hospitalization in terms of lowering inflammatory factors, improving vascular endothelium function and safety is unclear.

In the present study, 166 consecutive patients with UA who were ≥ 60 years of age were randomly assigned, in a double-blind manner, to receive 80 or 20 mg/day atorvastatin. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-α, fibrinogen and lipid levels were measured at admission and 1, 2 and 8 weeks later. Vascular endothelial function was measured and the safety of the drug was monitored.

Levels of inflammatory factors were significantly lower in patients on 80 mg atorvastatin than in those on 20 mg atorvastatin at 2 and 8 weeks. Atorvastatin 80 mg not only resulted in a significant improvement in vascular endothelial function during early hospitalization for UA over that seen in patients on 20 mg atorvastatin, but also reduced lipid levels to a greater extent. At 8 weeks, almost all patients showed good tolerance of 80 mg/day atorvastatin.

The results of the present study indicate that intensive statin therapy with high-dose (80 mg/day) atorvastatin is more efficacious than and as safe as 20 mg/day atorvastatin when administered to elderly patients during early hospitalization for UA.
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Keywords: aged inflammatory factors; safety; statins; unstable angina; vascular endothelium function

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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