Prevalence and Predictors of Cholesterol Screening, Awareness, and Statin Treatment Among US Adults With Familial Hypercholesterolemia or Other Forms of Severe Dyslipidemia (1999–2014)

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Abstract

Background:

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and other extreme elevations in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol significantly increase the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; however, recent data suggest that prescription rates for statins remain low in these patients. National rates of screening, awareness, and treatment with statins among individuals with FH or severe dyslipidemia are unknown.

Methods:

Data from the 1999 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used to estimate prevalence rates of self-reported screening, awareness, and statin therapy among US adults (n=42 471 weighted to represent 212 million US adults) with FH (defined using the Dutch Lipid Clinic criteria) and with severe dyslipidemia (defined as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels ≥190 mg/dL). Logistic regression was used to identify sociodemographic and clinical correlates of hypercholesterolemia awareness and statin therapy.

Results:

The estimated US prevalence of definite/probable FH was 0.47% (standard error, 0.03%) and of severe dyslipidemia was 6.6% (standard error, 0.2%). The frequency of cholesterol screening and awareness was high (>80%) among adults with definite/probable FH or severe dyslipidemia; however, statin use was uniformly low (52.3% [standard error, 8.2%] of adults with definite/probable FH and 37.6% [standard error, 1.2%] of adults with severe dyslipidemia). Only 30.3% of patients with definite/probable FH on statins were taking a high-intensity statin. The prevalence of statin use in adults with severe dyslipidemia increased over time (from 29.4% to 47.7%) but not faster than trends in the general population (from 5.7% to 17.6%). Older age, health insurance status, having a usual source of care, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and having a personal history of early atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease were associated with higher statin use.

Conclusions:

Despite the high prevalence of cholesterol screening and awareness, only ≈50% of adults with FH are on statin therapy, with even fewer prescribed a high-intensity statin; young and uninsured patients are at the highest risk for lack of screening and for undertreatment. This study highlights an imperative to improve the frequency of cholesterol screening and statin prescription rates to better identify and treat this high-risk population. Additional studies are needed to better understand how to close these gaps in screening and treatment.

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