Long-Term Statins Beneficial in Familial Hypercholesterolemia

(HealthDay News) — Long-term statin use among children with familial hypercholesterolemia is associated with normalization of carotid intima-media thickness progression, according to a research letter published online 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 familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) who were enrolled in a 2-year randomized trial of pravastatin (randomization from 1997 to 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.

Mean carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) was significantly greater in patients with FH than in siblings (0.48 mm vs. 0.469 mm), the researchers found. Similar progression of carotid IMT from baseline was observed in the two groups (0.039 mm vs. 0.037 mm; P=.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% or more 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 researchers wrote.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. Kusters DM et al. JAMA. 2014;312(10):1055-1057.