The effectiveness and safety of simvastatin in reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) to target levels in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) were evaluated in the GOALLS (Getting to Appropriate LDL-C Levels with Simvastatin) study. This multinational, multicentre, prospective, open-label, study consisted of a six-week diet washout period followed by a 14-week titrate-to-goal treatment period with simvastatin. One hundred and ninety-eight men and women with documented CHD and a fasting LDL-C level between 115 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/l) and 180 mg/dl (4.7 mmol/l) and triglycerides (TGs) ≤ 400 mg/dl (4.5 mmol/l) were enrolled. The patients were started on 20 mg simvastatin with dose titration up to 80 mg if the LDL-C remained above 100 mg/dl at weeks 6 and 10. The key efficacy parameters were the percentage of patients achieving US and European LDL-C goals [≤ 100 mg/dl (2.6 mmol/l) and ≤ 115 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/l), respectively]. Safety was evaluated by monitoring laboratory tests and recording adverse events. After 14 weeks of simvastatin (20-80 mg) treatment, approximately 90% of the patients achieved LDL-C goals according to US (87%) and European (94%) guidelines. Most patients (72-93%) achieved target LDL-C levels on 20mg simvastatin. An estimated 14% of the patients required titration to the 80 mg dose. Treatment with simvastatin (20-80 mg) produced statistically significant improvements in all measured lipid variables by the end of the study. The mean reductions in total cholesterol and LDL-C, and the median reduction in TG, were 28%, 41% and 16%, respectively. The increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-1 were 5% and 4%, respectively. Simvastatin was well tolerated across the dosage range. In conclusion, simvastatin, 20-80 mg/day, was safe and highly effective at reducing LDL-C levels. The recommended US and European LDL-C treatment goals were achieved in approximately 90% of the patients. These goals were similarly achieved for a variety of high-risk sub-groups (hypertensives, diabetics and elderly patients).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was sponsored by a grant from Merck & Co., Inc.
The authors wish to thank and acknowledge the statistical support from Merck Sharp & Dohme. In particular, of Thomas Dumortier, Statistician.
- Coronary heart disease
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors