Assessing the benefits and harms of statin treatment in patients with chronic kidney disease

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SUMMARYThis Practice Point commentary discusses a meta-analysis by Strippoli et al. that included 50 randomized and quasi-randomized trials of statins in patients with different stages of kidney disease (predialysis, dialysis and transplantation; n = 30,144). The authors found that statins safely reduced lipid concentrations and the risk of cardiovascular events and cardiovascular mortality, but that the agents had no effect on all-cause mortality overall and had uncertain renoprotective effects. The analysis was comprehensive and well executed. A decreased risk of all-cause mortality with statins was found in studies of predialysis patients but not in studies of renal transplant recipients or patients on chronic dialysis. Statin doses used in the trials were well tolerated and safe in all subgroups of patients with chronic kidney disease; therefore, we feel that statin use to maintain LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dl (2.6 mmol/l) should be initiated to potentially decrease cardiovascular risk in such patients. The benefits of statin therapy on all-cause mortality and the clinically significant benefits of this treatment on progression of kidney disease are still unclear, and additional trial evidence in patients with chronic kidney disease is needed.

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