Improving lipid management – to titrate, combine or switch

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Despite the benefits of statin therapy, cholesterol management remains suboptimal and many patients do not achieve their recommended low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goals. The use of insufficient doses, limited drug effectiveness and poor patient compliance may contribute to the treatment gap. Options for improving lipid management include dose titration, combination therapy or prescribing a more efficacious statin. LDL-C reductions are generally modest when patients' current statin dose is titrated, and there may be an increased potential for adverse effects. Combining statin therapy with another lipid-modifying agent can provide additional LDL-C reductions, but cost, tolerability and compliance should be considered. In general, switching to a more efficacious statin is a cost-effective way of enabling more patients to achieve recommended targets without increasing dosages. When considering the options available, physicians should balance efficacy, cost and safety to enable more patients to attain LDL-C goals and achieve greater therapeutic gain from statin treatment.

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