Combining Potent Statin Therapy with Other Drugs to Optimize Simultaneous Cardiovascular and Metabolic Benefits while Minimizing Adverse Events

  • Koh, Kwang Kon (Department of Cardiology, Gachon University Gil Medical Center) ;
  • Sakuma, Ichiro (Cardiovascular Medicine, Hokko Memorial Clinic, Health Sciences University of Hokkaido) ;
  • Shimada, Kazunori (Cardiovascular Medicine, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine) ;
  • Hayashi, Toshio (Department of Geriatrics, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine) ;
  • Quon, Michael J. (Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, University of Maryland School of Medicine)
  • Received : 2016.11.10
  • Accepted : 2016.12.08
  • Published : 2017.07.31


Hypercholesterolemia and hypertension are among the most important risk factors for cardiovascular (CV) disease. They are also important contributors to metabolic diseases including diabetes that further increase CV risk. Updated guidelines emphasize targeted reduction of overall CV risks but do not explicitly incorporate potential adverse metabolic outcomes that also influence CV health. Hypercholesterolemia and hypertension have synergistic deleterious effects on interrelated insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction. Dysregulation of the renin-angiotensin system is an important pathophysiological mechanism linking insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction to atherogenesis. Statins are the reference standard treatment to prevent CV disease in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Statins work best for secondary CV prevention. Unfortunately, most statin therapies dose-dependently cause insulin resistance, increase new onset diabetes risk and exacerbate existing type 2 diabetes mellitus. Pravastatin is often too weak to achieve target low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels despite having beneficial metabolic actions. Renin-angiotensin system inhibitors improve both endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance in addition to controlling blood pressure. In this regard, combined statin-based and renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitor therapies demonstrate additive/synergistic beneficial effects on endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, and other metabolic parameters in addition to lowering both cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This combined therapy simultaneously reduces CV events when compared to either drug type used as monotherapy. This is mediated by both separate and interrelated mechanisms. Therefore, statin-based therapy combined with RAS inhibitors is important for developing optimal management strategies in patients with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or obesity. This combined therapy can help prevent or treat CV disease while minimizing adverse metabolic consequences.


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