Impact of statin guidelines on statin utilization and costs in an employer-based primary care clinic

Holly E. Gurgle, Marisa B. Schauerhamer, Simón A. Rodriguez, Carrie McAdam-Marx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to describe statin utilization and costs in an employer-based patient cohort by comparing actual practice and assumed adoption of the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) or 2016 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) statin recommendations versus the guidelines described in 2001 (and supplemented in 2004) in the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program's Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATPIII).

STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive cohort analysis included patients treated in an employer-based primary care clinic between January 2012 and April 2014.

METHODS: ATPIII, ACC/AHA, and USPSTF recommendations were retrospectively applied at the patient level based on lipid levels and statin prescribing data collected from a health risk assessment and electronic health record. Actual statin prescribing was compared with prescribing predicted by guideline recommendations. Costs for each strategy were estimated using employer pharmacy claims data.

RESULTS: The study included 555 patients, of whom 112 (20.2%) were treated with a statin at baseline. ATPIII and ACC/AHA recommended statin use in 284 (51.2%) and 279 (50.3%) patients, respectively. Within the subgroup of 479 primary prevention patients, ACC/AHA recommended statin use in 203 (42.4%) versus USPSTF, which recommended statin use in 91 (19.0%). The 90-day cost per patient was similar to baseline with implementation of ATPIII or ACC/AHA recommendations, excluding use of brand name-only high-intensity statins, and costs could be reduced slightly with implementation of USPSTF guidelines.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite differences in ATPIII, ACC/AHA, and USPSTF guidelines, application of any of these statin recommendations would result in optimized statin utilization and fairly neutral effects on cost in this real-world employer-based population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e387-e393
JournalThe American journal of managed care
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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