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Dr Marie Sartain
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Daily statin reduces CVD risk for those living with HIV

Among people living with HIV, a daily statin medication reduced the risk of CVD, according to results from a large NIH study.

The Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV (REPRIEVE) study—the first large-scale clinical trial to test a primary cardiovascular prevention strategy in this population—found that participants who took pitavastatin calcium (a daily statin) lowered their risk of major adverse cardiovascular events by 35% compared to those receiving a placebo.

The clinical trial was stopped early because evidence for efficacy was adequate.

Adverse drug events observed in the study were like those in the general population taking statin therapy.

“The REPRIEVE study reflects the evolution of HIV science, and progress from focusing mostly on approaches to treat and control the virus to finding ways to improve the overall health of people living with HIV,” said acting National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Hugh Auchincloss, MD, in a press statement. “These new data suggest that a common cholesterol-lowering medicine could substantially improve cardiovascular outcomes in people with HIV.”

Decades of research and advances in HIV treatment have drastically reduced AIDS-related complications and deaths. As people with HIV live longer, premature heart disease and other chronic conditions have emerged as leading causes of morbidity and mortality, contributing to persistent gaps in lifespan between people with HIV and the broader population.

In 2015, 7,769 volunteers entered the clinical trial. Participants were 40 to 75 years of age and more than 30% were women. They were all taking antiretroviral therapy, with CD4+ cell counts greater than 100 cells/mm3 of blood at enrollment and had low-to-moderate traditional CVD risk that would not typically be considered for statin treatment. The trial was conducted in 12 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Africa.

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