Maximizing the Cost-effectiveness of Lipid-Lowering Therapy

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Abstract

Cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, is the leading cause of death both in men and in women in the United States.The purpose of this review is to describe the effectiveness of lipid-lowering therapy in reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, which has recently been extended to patients with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia, and the cost of providing therapy, which would be prohibitive if all persons with hypercholesterolemia received treatment. Cost-effectiveness analysis provides a rational means of allocating limited health care resources by allowing the comparison of the costs of lipid-lowering therapy, in particular, therapy with beta-hydroxy-beta-methylglutaryl-CoA (coenzyme A) reductase inhibitors (statins), with the costs of atherosclerosis that could be prevented by lowering cholesterol. To extend the benefits of treatment to the large number of persons not receiving therapy, we need to implement more cost-effective treatment by improving risk assessment, increasing treatment effectiveness, and reducing the cost of therapy.

Arch Intern Med.1998;158:1977-1989

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