Washington: Women at high risk of cardiovascular events are less likely to receive recommended statin - drugs which act to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood - doses for secondary prevention, reveals a study.
The findings indicated that women were more often treated with less potent statins as well as with lower doses of statins, independent of the statin used (table).
"Observational trials in many fields of cardiology have shown that female patients are less likely to be treated according to current guidelines," said lead author Dr Anselm Kai Gitt, a cardiologist at Heart Centre Ludwigshafen, Germany.
"We therefore raised the question of whether female sex has an impact on reaching the LDL cholesterol target of less than 70 mg/dl for secondary prevention in clinical practice," Gitt added.
They assessed how many male and female patients truly achieve treatment targets in clinical practice.
Between 2008 and 2012, 57,855 consecutive outpatients treated with statins were enrolled into the study.
Data was collected on cardiovascular risk factors, statin treatment and dose, and LDL cholesterol level.
All information was obtained under real life conditions in an outpatient setting.
The researchers then examined the association between female sex and achieving an LDL cholesterol level of less than 70 mg/dl in patients at very high risk of a cardiovascular event.
A total of 46,310 patients in the study were at very high risk of a cardiovascular event, of whom 18 653 (40.3 percent) were women.
Compare to men, female patients were older, more often had risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes, but less often suffered from already manifest ischaemic heart disease.
Just 17.5 percent of women reached the LDL cholesterol target of less than 70 mg/dl compared to 24 percent of men (p < 0.001).
Women at very high risk of a cardiovascular event were treated with less potent statins and lower doses of statins in clinical practice than men.
Compare to men, women had a 32 percent lower chance of reaching the LDL cholesterol target recommended by ESC / EAS guidelines.