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Paper of the day - Statins slow childhood atherosclerosis

Using statins in children who have familial hypercholesterolaemia and are as young as 8 effectively and safely delays atherosclerosis, researchers have found.

The researchers compared ultrasound measurements of carotid intima media thickness – a surrogate measure of atherosclerosis – in 214 children, average age 13.7, initially randomised to pravastatin or placebo for two years, after which all patients took either pravastatin or another statin.

The University of Amsterdam research team found that the later statins were started the thicker the IMT, even after gender, initial IMT and length of statin therapy were controlled for. The children in the study, who each had a parent with a clinical or molecular diagnosis of FH and met other criteria including an elevated LDL level, took pravastatin for a mean 4.5 years (range 2.1 to 7.4 years).

Circulation 2007; 116: 594-5.

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