Statin escape phenomenon: Does it really exist?
Eur J Intern Med. 2005 Jun ;16(3):192-194. PMID: 15967335
The Clinic for Hyperlipidemic Patients, Department of Medicine A, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Bruce Rapoport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, PO Box 4940, 47, Golomb Street, Haifa 31048, Israel.
BACKGROUND: The normalization of blood lipid profile has become an accepted method of primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease, with statins being the most popular group of medicines prescribed to lower cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. The failure of statins, administered in an appropriate dose, to maintain the optimal level of LDL cholesterol is a rare phenomenon, and is still not well understood in patients compliant for both medication and diet. The entity of "statin escape phenomenon", proposed to explain the failure of statins in some of these patients, has not been studied or characterized extensively, and reports of its prevalence are scarce. METHODS: Patients with hyperlipidemia type 2a or 2b who had been treated with statins for at least 1 year and who were followed up in the lipid clinic on a regular basis every 3-4 months were included in this study. The charts of patients whose LDL cholesterol levels were elevated by 15% or more while receiving the same treatment were analyzed, and patients with putative statin escape phenomenon were included in the study and further characterized. RESULTS: Forty-five of 358 statin-treated patients demonstrated a 15% increase in LDL cholesterol levels, leading to suspicion of statin escape phenomenon. However, a strict exclusion analysis left only two patients without evident potential triggers for the observed elevation in LDL cholesterol. CONCLUSIONS: Whether a statin escape phenomenon really exists is still not certain, but if it does exist, it is probably an uncommon event with a low prevalence.