New therapeutic options in the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III

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Abstract

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a common, costly, and undertreated disorder in the United States, and dyslipidemia is one of its most important modifiable risk factors. Recently, the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) published updated guidelines for the treatment of lipid disorders, greatly expanding the number of patients eligible for therapy. In the new recommendations, several significant changes have been made in the identification and management of patients at risk for CHD. Although ATP III maintains that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol should be the primary target of lipid-lowering therapy, it identifies non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol) as a secondary target in patients with elevated triglycerides. Patients with ≥2 CHD risk factors should now be assessed for 10-year absolute CHD risk based on the Framingham Point Scale to identify those who require more aggressive treatment. The guidelines also designate a new category, CHD risk equivalent, which recognizes that certain patients have the same high risk as those with established CHD. Diabetes is now identified as a CHD risk equivalent, as are other forms of atherosclerotic disease and multiple risk factors comprising a CHD 10-year risk of >20%. New lipoprotein classifications are given, and increased emphasis is placed on the metabolic syndrome, a constellation of metabolic risk factors, as a marker for CHD risk. Since adherence poses a major challenge in the management of patients with or at risk for CHD, the new guidelines provide physicians with several strategies for increasing patient compliance. The new guidelines should help physicians better identify and manage patients at risk for CHD, help more patients reach their lipid goals, and thereby decrease cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S301-S307
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Volume8
Issue number12 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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