Quantifying unmet need in statin-treated hyperlipidemia patients and the potential benefit of further LDL-C reduction through an EHR-based retrospective cohort study

Titus Schleyer, Siu Hui, Jane Wang, Zuoyi Zhang, Kristina Knapp, Jarod Baker, Monica Chase, Robert Boggs, Ross J. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Statins are effective in helping prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, studies suggest that only 20%-64% of patients taking statins achieve reasonable low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) thresholds. On-treatment levels of LDL-C remain a key predictor of residual CVD event risk. OBJECTIVES: To (a) determine how many patients on statins achieved the therapeutic threshold of LDL-C<100 mg per dL (general cohort) and <70 mg per dL (secondary prevention cohort, or subcohort, with preexisting CVD); (b) estimate the number of potentially avoidable CVD events if the threshold were reached; and (c) forecast potential cost savings. METHODS: A retrospective, longitudinal cohort study using electronic health record data from the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC) was conducted. The INPC provides comprehensive information about patients in Indiana across health care organizations and care settings. Patients were aged >45 years and seen between January 1, 2012, and October 31, 2016 (ensuring study of contemporary practice), were statin-naive for 12 months before the index date of initiating statin therapy, and had an LDL-C value recorded 6-18 months after the index date. Subsequent to descriptive cohort analysis, the theoretical CVD risk reduction achievable by reaching the threshold was calculated using Framingham Risk Score and Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration formulas. Estimated potential cost savings used published first-year costs of CVD events, adjusted for inflation and discounted to the present day. RESULTS: Of the 89,267 patients initiating statins, 30,083 (33.7%) did not achieve the LDL-C threshold (subcohort: 58.1%). In both groups, not achieving the threshold was associated with patients who were female, black, and those who had reduced medication adherence. Higher levels of preventive aspirin use and antihypertensive treatment were associated with threshold achievement. In both cohorts, approximately 64% of patients above the threshold were within 30 mg per dL of the respective threshold. Adherence to statin therapy regimen, judged by a medication possession ratio of ≥80%, was 57.4% in the general cohort and 56.7% in the subcohort. Of the patients who adhered to therapy, 23.7% of the general cohort and 50.5% of the subcohort had LDL-C levels that did not meet the threshold. 10-year CVD event risk in the at-or-above threshold group was 22.78% (SD=17.24%) in the general cohort and 29.56% (SD=18.19%) in the subcohort. By reducing LDL-C to the threshold, a potential relative risk reduction of 14.8% in the general cohort could avoid 1,173 CVD events over 10 years (subcohort: 15.7% and 454 events). Given first-year inpatient and follow-up costs of $37,300 per CVD event, this risk reduction could save about $1,455 per patient treated to reach the threshold (subcohort: $1,902; 2017 U.S. dollars) over a 10-year period. CONCLUSIONS: Across multiple health care systems in Indiana, between 34% (general cohort) and 58% (secondary prevention cohort) of patients treated with statins did not achieve therapeutic LDL-C thresholds. Based on current CVD event risk and cost projections, such patients seem to be at increased risk and may represent an important and potentially preventable burden on health care costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-554
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Policy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying unmet need in statin-treated hyperlipidemia patients and the potential benefit of further LDL-C reduction through an EHR-based retrospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this