Research shows that lowering LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) to below 100 milligrams per deciliter by increasing the dosage of a cholesterol-lowering drug is safe and results in fewer cardiovascular events.
The study included 10,000 heart disease patients. They initially took 10 milligrams of atorvastatin (Lipitor) a day to get their LDL-cholesterol levels down to 130 milligrams per deciliter a day or lower. Then, half of the patients received an increased dosage of 80 milligrams of the drug each day. This group's LDL-C levels were at about 77 milligrams per deciliter. They were all followed for five years.
The people who were on 80 milligrams of atorvastatin and got 77 milligrams of LDL as an achieved level of LDL had 22-percent less major cardiovascular events.These included fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events. Also, stroke rates went down 25 percent, and this is comparing them to patients already at a reduced risk from taking the 10-milligram dosage.
There has been no side effects observed from increasing the dosage. In order to determine the effect on total mortality, an even larger group of people would need to be studied.