When Considering Starting Statins
First, always engage in a clinician-patient discussion of the potential for ASCVD risk reduction, adverse effects, drug-drug interactions, and patient preferences. Consider:
- Potential for ASCVD risk-reduction benefits.
- Potential for adverse effects and drug-drug interactions.
- Heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Management of other risk factors.
- Patient preferences.
See Table 8 for safety recommendations about statin usage.
Statin therapy is not routinely recommended for individuals with New York Heart Association class II to IV heart failure or who are receiving maintenance hemodialysis.
When Considering or Using High-Intensity Statins
The guidelines recommend the treating clinician consider:
- Multiple or serious comorbidities, such as impaired renal or hepatic function.
- A history of previous statin intolerance or muscle disorders.
- Unexplained elevated levels of alanine transaminase greater than three times the upper limit of normal.
- Patient characteristics or concomitant use of medications that affect statin metabolism.
- Age older than 75 years.
When Considering Other Groups for Aggressive Cholesterol-Lowering Medications Besides Those in the Risk Calculator
The guidelines recommend the treating clinician consider patients with:
- A primary LDL-C level of 160 mg per dL (4.14 mmol per L) or greater, or other evidence of genetic hyperlipidemias.
- Family history of premature ASCVD before 55 years of age in a first-degree male relative or before 65 years of age in a first-degree female relative.
- High-sensitivity C-reactive protein level of 2 mg per L (19.05 nmol per L) or greater.
- Coronary artery calcium score of 300 Agatston units or greater, or being in the 75th percentile or greater for age, sex, and ethnicity.
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI) less than 0.9.
- Elevated lifetime risk of ASCVD.
When Monitoring Statin Effects and Side Effects
- Assess adherence, response to therapy, and adverse effects within 4 to 12 weeks following statin initiation or change in therapy.
- Measure fasting lipid levels.
- Do not routinely monitor alanine transaminase or creatine kinase levels unless symptomatic.
- Screen and treat type 2 diabetes according to current practice guidelines; heart-healthy lifestyle habits should be encouraged to prevent progression to diabetes.