To evaluate the association between incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and initiation and adherence to statin treatment for primary prevention of CVD in patients with newly diagnosed hypercholesterolaemia.
A population-based retrospective cohort study.
This study used National Health Insurance Service-Health Screening Cohort (NHIS-HEALS) from Republic of Korea.
This study included 11 320 participants without previous history of CVD aged between 40 and 79 years who had elevated total cholesterol level (more than 240 mg/dL) and had initiated statin treatment within 24 months of the national health screening from 2004 to 2012 identified in the NHIS-HEALS.
The primary outcome, CVD, was defined as first-ever admission or death due to ischaemic heart disease, acute myocardial infarction, revascularisation or stroke, or December 31 2013. The HRs of CVD according to statin adherence were calculated according to stratification by Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation.
Early statin initiation significantly lowered risk of CVD outcomes compared with late initiation (HR of late statin user, 1.24; 95% CI 1.02 to 2.51). Among early initiators, statin discontinuers had a significantly higher risk for CVD compared with persistent users (HR, 1.71; 95% CI 1.10 to 2.67), while statin reinitiators had an attenuated risk increase (HR 1.34, 95% CI 0.79 to 2.30).
Among statin users with newly diagnosed hypercholesterolaemia, early statin initiation is associated with lower CVD risk compared with late initiation. Furthermore, statin discontinuation is associated with increased risk of CVD, but reinitiation attenuated the risk.

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