July 30, 2016
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Mechanism Of Action

CADUET is a combination of two drugs, a dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker (amlodipine) and an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (atorvastatin). The amlodipine component of CADUET inhibits the transmembrane influx of calcium ions into vascular smooth muscle and cardiac muscle. The atorvastatin component of CADUET is a selective, competitive inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme that converts 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A to mevalonate, a precursor of sterols, including cholesterol.


Amlodipine binds to both dihydropyridine and nondihydropyridine binding sites. The contractile processes of cardiac muscle and vascular smooth muscle are dependent upon the movement of extracellular calcium ions into these cells through specific ion channels. Amlodipine inhibits calcium ion influx across cell membranes selectively, with a greater effect on vascular smooth muscle cells than on cardiac muscle cells. Negative inotropic effects can be detected in vitro but such effects have not been seen in intact animals at therapeutic doses. Serum calcium concentration is not affected by amlodipine.

Amlodipine is a peripheral arterial vasodilator that acts directly on vascular smooth muscle to cause a reduction in peripheral vascular resistance and reduction in blood pressure.

The precise mechanisms by which amlodipine relieves angina have not been fully delineated, but are thought to include the following:

Exertional Angina: In patients with exertional angina, amlodipine reduces the total peripheral resistance (afterload) against which the heart works and reduces the rate pressure product, and thus myocardial oxygen demand, at any given level of exercise.

Vasospastic Angina: Amlodipine has been demonstrated to block constriction and restore blood flow in coronary arteries and arterioles in response to calcium, potassium epinephrine, serotonin, and thromboxane A2 analog in experimental animal models and in human coronary vessels in vitro. This inhibition of coronary spasm is responsible for the effectiveness of amlodipine in vasospastic (Prinzmetal's or variant) angina.


Cholesterol and triglycerides circulate in the bloodstream as part of lipoprotein complexes. With ultracentrifugation, these complexes separate into HDL (high-density lipoprotein), IDL (intermediate-density lipoprotein), LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein) fractions. Triglycerides (TG) and cholesterol in the liver are incorporated into VLDL and released into the plasma for delivery to peripheral tissues. LDL is formed from VLDL and is catabolized primarily through the high-affinity LDL receptor.

Clinical and pathologic studies show that elevated plasma levels of total cholesterol (total-C), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), and apolipoprotein B (apo B) promote human atherosclerosis and are risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, while increased levels of HDL-C are associated with a decreased cardiovascular risk.

Epidemiologic investigations have established that cardiovascular morbidity and mortality vary directly with the level of total-C and LDL-C, and inversely with the level of HDL-C.

In animal models, atorvastatin lowers plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein levels by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and cholesterol synthesis in the liver and by increasing the number of hepatic LDL receptors on the cell surface to enhance uptake and catabolism of LDL; atorvastatin also reduces LDL production and the number of LDL particles.

Atorvastatin reduces total-C, LDL-C, and apo B in patients with homozygous and heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), nonfamilial forms of hypercholesterolemia, and mixed dyslipidemia. Atorvastatin also reduces VLDL-C and TG and produces variable increases in HDL-C and apolipoprotein A-1. Atorvastatin reduces total-C, LDL-C, VLDL-C, apo B, TG, and non-HDL-C, and increases HDL-C in patients with isolated hypertriglyceridemia. Atorvastatin reduces intermediate density lipoprotein cholesterol (IDL-C) in patients with dysbetalipoproteinemia.

Like LDL, cholesterol-enriched triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, including VLDL, intermediate density lipoprotein (IDL), and remnants, can also promote atherosclerosis. Elevated plasma triglycerides are frequently found in a triad with low HDL-C levels and small LDL particles, as well as in association with non-lipid metabolic risk factors for coronary heart disease. As such, total plasma TG has not consistently been shown to be an independent risk factor for CHD. Furthermore, the independent effect of raising HDL or lowering TG on the risk of coronary and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been determined.



Following administration of therapeutic doses to patients with hypertension, amlodipine produces vasodilation resulting in a reduction of supine and standing blood pressures. These decreases in blood pressure are not accompanied by a significant change in heart rate or plasma catecholamine levels with chronic dosing. Although the acute intravenous administration of amlodipine decreases arterial blood pressure and increases heart rate in hemodynamic studies of patients with chronic stable angina, chronic oral administration of amlodipine in clinical trials did not lead to clinically significant changes in heart rate or blood pressures in normotensive patients with angina.

With chronic once daily oral administration, antihypertensive effectiveness is maintained for at least 24 hours. Plasma concentrations correlate with effect in both young and elderly patients. The magnitude of reduction in blood pressure with amlodipine is also correlated with the height of pretreatment elevation; thus, individuals with moderate hypertension (diastolic pressure 105–114 mmHg) had about a 50% greater response than patients with mild hypertension (diastolic pressure 90– 104 mmHg). Normotensive subjects experienced no clinically significant change in blood pressures (+1/–2 mmHg).

In hypertensive patients with normal renal function, therapeutic doses of amlodipine resulted in a decrease in renal vascular resistance and an increase in glomerular filtration rate and effective renal plasma flow without change in filtration fraction or proteinuria.

As with other calcium channel blockers, hemodynamic measurements of cardiac function at rest and during exercise (or pacing) in patients with normal ventricular function treated with amlodipine have generally demonstrated a small increase in cardiac index without significant influence on dP/dt or on left ventricular end diastolic pressure or volume. In hemodynamic studies, amlodipine has not been associated with a negative inotropic effect when administered in the therapeutic dose range to intact animals and man, even when co-administered with beta-blockers to man. Similar findings, however, have been observed in normal or well-compensated patients with heart failure with agents possessing significant negative inotropic effects.

Amlodipine does not change sinoatrial nodal function or atrioventricular conduction in intact animals or man. In patients with chronic stable angina, intravenous administration of 10 mg did not significantly alter A-H and H-V conduction and sinus node recovery time after pacing. Similar results were obtained in patients receiving amlodipine and concomitant beta-blockers. In clinical studies in which amlodipine was administered in combination with beta-blockers to patients with either hypertension or angina, no adverse effects on electrocardiographic parameters were observed. In clinical trials with angina patients alone, amlodipine therapy did not alter electrocardiographic intervals or produce higher degrees of AV blocks.


Atorvastatin, as well as some of its metabolites, are pharmacologically active in humans. The liver is the primary site of action and the principal site of cholesterol synthesis and LDL clearance. Drug dosage, rather than systemic drug concentration, correlates better with LDL-C reduction. Individualization of drug dosage should be based on therapeutic response [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].



Amlodipine: After oral administration of therapeutic doses of amlodipine alone, absorption produces peak plasma concentrations between 6 and 12 hours. Absolute bioavailability has been estimated to be between 64% and 90%.

Atorvastatin: After oral administration alone, atorvastatin is rapidly absorbed; maximum plasma concentrations occur within 1 to 2 hours. Extent of absorption increases in proportion to atorvastatin dose. The absolute bioavailability of atorvastatin (parent drug) is approximately 14% and the systemic availability of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitory activity is approximately 30%. The low systemic availability is attributed to presystemic clearance in gastrointestinal mucosa and/or hepatic first-pass metabolism. Plasma atorvastatin concentrations are lower (approximately 30% for Cmax and AUC) following evening drug administration compared with morning. However, LDL-C reduction is the same regardless of the time of day of drug administration [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

CADUET: Following oral administration of CADUET, peak plasma concentrations of amlodipine and atorvastatin are seen at 6 to 12 hours and 1 to 2 hours post dosing, respectively. The rate and extent of absorption (bioavailability) of amlodipine and atorvastatin from CADUET are not significantly different from the bioavailability of amlodipine and atorvastatin administered separately (see above).

The bioavailability of amlodipine from CADUET was not affected by food. Food decreases the rate and extent of absorption of atorvastatin from CADUET by approximately 32% and 11%, respectively, as it does with atorvastatin when given alone. LDL-C reduction is similar whether atorvastatin is given with or without food.


Amlodipine: Ex vivo studies have shown that approximately 93% of the circulating amlodipine drug is bound to plasma proteins in hypertensive patients. Steady-state plasma levels of amlodipine are reached after 7 to 8 days of consecutive daily dosing.

Atorvastatin: Mean volume of distribution of atorvastatin is approximately 381 liters. Atorvastatin is ≥ 98% bound to plasma proteins. A blood/plasma ratio of approximately 0.25 indicates poor drug penetration into red blood cells. Based on observations in rats, atorvastatin calcium is likely to be secreted in human milk [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and Use In Specific Populations].


Amlodipine: Amlodipine is extensively (about 90%) converted to inactive metabolites via hepatic metabolism.

Atorvastatin: Atorvastatin is extensively metabolized to ortho-and parahydroxylated derivatives and various beta-oxidation products. In vitro inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase by ortho-and parahydroxylated metabolites is equivalent to that of atorvastatin. Approximately 70% of circulating inhibitory activity for HMG-CoA reductase is attributed to active metabolites. In vitro studies suggest the importance of atorvastatin metabolism by cytochrome P4503A4, consistent with increased plasma concentrations of atorvastatin in humans following co-administration with erythromycin, a known inhibitor of this isozyme [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. In animals, the ortho-hydroxy metabolite undergoes further glucuronidation.


Amlodipine: Elimination from the plasma is biphasic with a terminal elimination half-life of about 30-50 hours. Ten percent of the parent amlodipine compound and 60% of the metabolites of amlodipine are excreted in the urine.

Atorvastatin: Atorvastatin and its metabolites are eliminated primarily in bile following hepatic and/or extra-hepatic metabolism; however, the drug does not appear to undergo enterohepatic recirculation. Mean plasma elimination half-life of atorvastatin in humans is approximately 14 hours, but the half-life of inhibitory activity for HMG-CoA reductase is 20 to 30 hours because of the contribution of active metabolites. Less than 2% of a dose of atorvastatin is recovered in urine following oral administration.

Specific Populations


Amlodipine: Elderly patients have decreased clearance of amlodipine with a resulting increase in AUC of approximately 40-60%, and a lower initial dose of amlodipine may be required.

Atorvastatin: Plasma concentrations of atorvastatin are higher (approximately 40% for Cmax and 30% for AUC) in healthy elderly subjects (age ≥ 65 years) than in young adults. Clinical data suggest a greater degree of LDL-lowering at any dose of atorvastatin in the elderly population compared to younger adults [see Use in Specific Populations].


Amlodipine: Sixty-two hypertensive patients aged 6 to 17 years received doses of amlodipine between 1.25 mg and 20 mg. Weight-adjusted clearance and volume of distribution were similar to values in adults.

Atorvastatin: Pharmacokinetic data in the pediatric population are not available.


Atorvastatin: Plasma concentrations of atorvastatin in women differ from those in men (approximately 20% higher for Cmax and 10% lower for AUC); however, there is no clinically significant difference in LDL-C reduction with atorvastatin between men and women.

Renal Impairment

Amlodipine: The pharmacokinetics of amlodipine are not significantly influenced by renal impairment. Patients with renal failure may therefore receive the usual initial amlodipine dose.

Atorvastatin: Renal disease has no influence on the plasma concentrations or LDL-C reduction of atorvastatin; thus, dose adjustment of atorvastatin in patients with renal dysfunction is not necessary [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].


While studies have not been conducted in patients with end-stage renal disease, hemodialysis is not expected to clear atorvastatin or amlodipine since both drugs are extensively bound to plasma proteins.

Hepatic Impairment

Amlodipine: Elderly patients and patients with hepatic insufficiency have decreased clearance of amlodipine with a resulting increase in AUC of approximately 40-60%.

Atorvastatin: In patients with chronic alcoholic liver disease, plasma concentrations of atorvastatin are markedly increased. Cmax and AUC are each 4-fold greater in patients with Childs-Pugh A disease. Cmax and AUC of atorvastatin are approximately 16fold and 11-fold increased, respectively, in patients with Childs-Pugh B disease [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].

Atorvastatin is contraindicated in patients with active liver disease.

Heart Failure

Amlodipine: In patients with moderate to severe heart failure, the increase in AUC for amlodipine was similar to that seen in the elderly and in patients with hepatic insufficiency. Effects of Other Drugs on CADUET Amlodipine: No significant interactions are known. Atorvastatin: Table 5 shows effects of other drugs on the pharmacokinetics of atorvastatin.

Table 5: Effect of Co-administered Drugs on the Pharmacokinetics of Atorvastatin

Co-administered drug and dosing regimen Atorvastatin
Dose (mg) Change in AUC Change in Cmax
#Cyclosporine 5.2 mg/kg/day, stable dose 10 mg QD for 28 days ↑870% ↑1070%
#Tipranavir 500 mg BID/ritonavir 200 mg BID, 7 days 10 mg, SD ↑940% ↑860%
#Telaprevir 750 mg q8h, 10 days 20 mg, SD ↑790% ↑1060%
#, ‡Saquinavir 400 mg BID/ritonavir 400mg BID, 15 days 40 mg QD for 4 days ↑ 390% ↑430%
#Clarithromycin 500 mg BID, 9 days 80 mg QD for 8 days ↑440% ↑540%
#Darunavir 300 mg BID/ritonavir 100 mg BID, 9 days 10 mg QD for 4 days ↑340% ↑230%
#Itraconazole 200 mg QD, 4 days 40 mg SD ↑330% ↑20%
#Fosamprenavir 700 mg BID/ritonavir 100 mg BID, 14 days 10 mg QD for 4 days ↑ 250% ↑280%
#Fosamprenavir 1400 mg BID, 14 days 10 mg QD for 4 days ↑230% ↑400%
#Nelfinavir 1250 mg BID, 14 days 10 mg QD for 28 days ↑74% ↑220%
#Grapefruit Juice, 240 mL QD* 40 mg, SD ↑ 37% ↑16%
Diltiazem 240 mg QD, 28 days 40 mg, SD ↑ 51% No change
Erythromycin 500 mg QID, 7 days 10 mg, SD ↑33% ↑38%
Amlodipine 10 mg, single dose 80 mg, SD ↑15% ↓12 %
Cimetidine 300 mg QID, 2 weeks 10 mg QD for 2 weeks ↓Less than 1% ↓11%
Colestipol 10 mg BID, 28 weeks 40 mg QD for 28 weeks Not determined ↓26%**
Maalox TC® 30 mL QD, 17 days 10 mg QD for 15 days ↓33% ↓34%
Efavirenz 600 mg QD, 14 days 10 mg for 3 days ↓41% ↓1%
#Rifampin 600 mg QD, 7 days (coadministered) † 40 mg SD ↑ 30% ↑ 2.7-fold
#Rifampin 600 mg QD, 5 days (doses separated) † 40 mg SD ↓80% ↓40%
#Gemfbrozil 600 mg BID, 7 days 40mg SD ↑35% ↓Less than 1%
#Fenofibrate 160 mg QD, 7 days 40mg SD ↑3% ↑ 2%
Boceprevir 800 mg TID, 7 days 40 mg SD ↑2.30 fold ↑2.66 fold
#See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DRUG INTERACTIONS for clinical significance.
* Greater increases in AUC (up to 2.5-fold) and/or Cmax (up to 71%) have been reported with excessive grapefruit consumption ( ≥ 750 mL – 1.2 liters per day).
** Single sample taken 8-16 h post dose.
† Because of the dual interaction mechanism of rifampin, simultaneous co-administration of atorvastatin with rifampin is recommended, as delayed administration of atorvastatin after administration of rifampin has been associated with a significant reduction in atorvastatin plasma concentrations.
‡ The dose of saquinavir plus ritonavir in this study is not the clinically used dose. The increase in atorvastatin exposure when used clinically is likely to be higher than what was observed in this study. Therefore, use the lowest dose necessary.

Effects of CADUET on Other Drugs

Amlodipine: No significant interactions are known.

Atorvastatin: Table 6 shows the effects of atorvastatin on the pharmacokinetics of other drugs.

Table 6:Effect of Atorvastatin on the Pharmacokinetics of Co-administered Drugs

Atorvastatin Co-administered drug and dosing regimen
Drug/Dose (mg) Change in AUC Change in Cmax
80 mg QD for 15 days Antipyrine, 600 mg SD ↑3% ↓ 11%
80 mg QD for 14 days Digoxin 0.25 mg QD, 20 days ↑ 15% ↑20 %
40 mg QD for 22 days Oral contraceptive QD, 2 months - norethindrone 1mg ↑ 28% ↑ 23%
  - ethinyl estradiol 35 |ag ↑ 19% ↑30%
10 mg, SD Tipranavir 500 mg BID/ritonavir 200 mg BID, 7 days No change No change
10 mg QD for 4 days Fosamprenavir 1400 mg BID, 14 days ↓27% ↓18%
10 mg QD for 4 days Fosamprenavir 700 mg BID/ritonavir 100 mg BID, 14 days No change No change

Clinical Studies

Amlodipine For Hypertension

Adult Patients

The antihypertensive efficacy of amlodipine has been demonstrated in a total of 15 double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies involving 800 patients on amlodipine and 538 on placebo. Once daily administration produced statistically significant placebo-corrected reductions in supine and standing blood pressures at 24 hours postdose, averaging about 12/6 mmHg in the standing position and 13/7 mmHg in the supine position in patients with mild to moderate hypertension. Maintenance of the blood pressure effect over the 24-hour dosing interval was observed, with little difference in peak and trough effect. Tolerance was not demonstrated in patients studied for up to 1 year. The 3 parallel, fixed dose, dose response studies showed that the reduction in supine and standing blood pressures was dose related within the recommended dosing range. Effects on diastolic pressure were similar in young and older patients. The effect on systolic pressure was greater in older patients, perhaps because of greater baseline systolic pressure. Effects were similar in black patients and in white patients.

Pediatric Patients

Two hundred sixty-eight hypertensive patients aged 6 to 17 years were randomized first to amlodipine 2.5 or 5 mg once daily for 4 weeks and then randomized again to the same dose or to placebo for another 4 weeks. Patients receiving 2.5 mg or 5 mg at the end of 8 weeks had significantly lower systolic blood pressure than those secondarily randomized to placebo. The magnitude of the treatment effect is difficult to interpret, but it is probably less than 5 mmHg systolic on the 5 mg dose and 3.3 mmHg systolic on the 2.5 mg dose. Adverse events were similar to those seen in adults.

Amlodipine For Chronic Stable Angina

The effectiveness of 5–10 mg/day of amlodipine in exercise-induced angina has been evaluated in 8 placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials of up to 6 weeks duration involving 1038 patients (684 amlodipine, 354 placebo) with chronic stable angina. In 5 of the 8 studies, significant increases in exercise time (bicycle or treadmill) were seen with the 10 mg dose. Increases in symptom-limited exercise time averaged 12.8% (63 sec) for amlodipine 10 mg, and averaged 7.9% (38 sec) for amlodipine 5 mg. Amlodipine 10 mg also increased time to 1 mm ST segment deviation in several studies and decreased angina attack rate. The sustained efficacy of amlodipine in angina patients has been demonstrated over long-term dosing. In patients with angina, there were no clinically significant reductions in blood pressures (4/1 mmHg) or changes in heart rate (+0.3 bpm).

Amlodipine For Vasospastic Angina

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 4 weeks duration in 50 patients, amlodipine therapy decreased attacks by approximately 4/week compared with a placebo decrease of approximately 1/week (p < 0.01). Two of 23 amlodipine and 7 of 27 placebo patients discontinued from the study for lack of clinical improvement.

Amlodipine For Coronary Artery Disease

In PREVENT, 825 patients with angiographically documented coronary artery disease were randomized to amlodipine (5–10 mg once daily) or placebo and followed for 3 years. Although the study did not show significance on the primary objective of change in coronary luminal diameter as assessed by quantitative coronary angiography, the data suggested a favorable outcome with respect to fewer hospitalizations for angina and revascularization procedures in patients with CAD.

CAMELOT enrolled 1318 patients with CAD recently documented by angiography, without left main coronary disease and without heart failure or an ejection fraction < 40%. Patients (76% males, 89% Caucasian, 93% enrolled at U.S. sites, 89% with a history of angina, 52% without PCI, 4% with PCI and no stent, and 44% with a stent) were randomized to double-blind treatment with either amlodipine (5–10 mg once daily) or placebo in addition to standard care that included aspirin (89%), statins (83%), beta-blockers (74%), nitroglycerin (50%), anticoagulants (40%), and diuretics (32%), but excluded other calcium channel blockers. The mean duration of follow-up was 19 months. The primary endpoint was the time to first occurrence of one of the following events: hospitalization for angina pectoris, coronary revascularization, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular death, resuscitated cardiac arrest, hospitalization for heart failure, stroke/TIA, or peripheral vascular disease. A total of 110 (16.6%) and 151 (23.1%) first events occurred in the amlodipine and placebo groups, respectively, for a hazard ratio of 0.691 (95% CI: 0.540– 0.884, p = 0.003). The primary endpoint is summarized in Figure 1 below. The outcome of this study was largely derived from the prevention of hospitalizations for angina and the prevention of revascularization procedures (see Table 7). Effects in various subgroups are shown in Figure 2.

In an angiographic substudy (n=274) conducted within CAMELOT, there was no significant difference between amlodipine and placebo on the change of atheroma volume in the coronary artery as assessed by intravascular ultrasound.

Figure 1: Kaplan-Meier Analysis of Composite Clinical Outcomes for Amlodipine versus Placebo

Kaplan-Meier Analysis of Composite Clinical Outcomes for Amlodipine versus Placebo - Illustration

Figure 2: Effects on Primary Endpoint of Amlodipine versus Placebo across Sub-Groups

Effects on Primary Endpoint of Amlodipine versus Placebo across Sub-Groups - Illustration

Table 7 below summarizes the significant composite endpoint and clinical outcomes from the composites of the primary endpoint. The other components of the primary endpoint including cardiovascular death, resuscitated cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, hospitalization for heart failure, stroke/TIA, or peripheral vascular disease did not demonstrate a significant difference between amlodipine and placebo.

Table 7: Incidence of Significant Clinical Outcomes for CAMELOT

Clinical Outcomes
N (%)
Risk Reduction (p-value)
Composite CV Endpoint 110 (16.6) 151 (23.1) 31% (0.003)
Hospitalization for Angina* 51 (7.7) 84 (12.8) 42% (0.002)
Coronary Revascularization* 78 (11.8) 103 (15.7) 27% (0.033)
* Total patients with these events.

Amlodipine For Heart Failure

Amlodipine has been compared to placebo in four 8–12 week studies of patients with NYHA Class II/III heart failure, involving a total of 697 patients. In these studies, there was no evidence of worsened heart failure based on measures of exercise tolerance, NYHA classification, symptoms, or left ventricular ejection fraction. In a long-term (follow-up at least 6 months, mean 13.8 months) placebo-controlled mortality/morbidity study of amlodipine 5–10 mg in 1153 patients with NYHA Classes III (n=931) or IV (n=222) heart failure on stable doses of diuretics, digoxin, and ACE inhibitors, amlodipine had no effect on the primary endpoint of the study which was the combined endpoint of all-cause mortality and cardiac morbidity (as defined by life-threatening arrhythmia, acute myocardial infarction, or hospitalization for worsened heart failure), or on NYHA classification, or symptoms of heart failure. Total combined all-cause mortality and cardiac morbidity events were 222/571 (39%) for patients on amlodipine and 246/583 (42%) for patients on placebo; the cardiac morbid events represented about 25% of the endpoints in the study.

Another study (PRAISE-2) randomized patients with NYHA Class III (80%) or IV (20%) heart failure without clinical symptoms or objective evidence of underlying ischemic disease, on stable doses of ACE inhibitors (99%), digitalis (99%), and diuretics (99%), to placebo (n=827) or amlodipine (n=827) and followed them for a mean of 33 months. There was no statistically significant difference between amlodipine and placebo in the primary endpoint of all-cause mortality (95% confidence limits from 8% reduction to 29% increase on amlodipine). With amlodipine there were more reports of pulmonary edema.

Atorvastatin For Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease

In the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial (ASCOT), the effect of atorvastatin on fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease was assessed in 10,305 hypertensive patients 40–80 years of age (mean of 63 years), without a previous myocardial infarction and with TC levels ≤ 251 mg/dL (6.5 mmol/L). Additionally, all patients had at least 3 of the following cardiovascular risk factors: male gender (81.1%), age > 55 years (84.5%), smoking (33.2%), diabetes (24.3%), history of CHD in a first-degree relative (26%), TC:HDL > 6 (14.3%), peripheral vascular disease (5.1%), left ventricular hypertrophy (14.4%), prior cerebrovascular event (9.8%), specific ECG abnormality (14.3%), proteinuria/albuminuria (62.4%). In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients were treated with anti-hypertensive therapy (Goal BP < 140/90 mmHg for non-diabetic patients; < 130/80 mm Hg for diabetic patients) and allocated to either atorvastatin 10 mg daily (n=5168) or placebo (n=5137), using a covariate adaptive method that took into account the distribution of nine baseline characteristics of patients already enrolled and minimized the imbalance of those characteristics across the groups. Patients were followed for a median duration of 3.3 years.

The effect of 10 mg/day of atorvastatin on lipid levels was similar to that seen in previous clinical trials.

Atorvastatin significantly reduced the rate of coronary events [either fatal coronary heart disease (46 events in the placebo group vs. 40 events in the atorvastatin group) or non-fatal MI (108 events in the placebo group vs. 60 events in the atorvastatin group)] with a relative risk reduction of 36% [(based on incidences of 1.9% for atorvastatin vs. 3.0% for placebo), p=0.0005 (see Figure 3)]. The risk reduction was consistent regardless of age, smoking status, obesity, or presence of renal dysfunction. The effect of atorvastatin was seen regardless of baseline LDL levels. Because of the small number of events, results for women were inconclusive.

Figure 3: Effect of Atorvastatin 10 mg/day on Cumulative Incidence of Non-Fatal Myocardial Infarction or Coronary Heart Disease Death (in ASCOT-LLA)

Effect of Atorvastatin 10 mg/day on Cumulative Incidence of Non-Fatal Myocardial Infarction or Coronary Heart Disease Death - Illustration

Atorvastatin also significantly decreased the relative risk for revascularization procedures by 42%. Although the reduction of fatal and non-fatal strokes did not reach a pre-defined significance level (p=0.01), a favorable trend was observed with a 26% relative risk reduction (incidences of 1.7% for atorvastatin and 2.3% for placebo). There was no significant difference between the treatment groups for death from cardiovascular causes (p=0.51) or noncardiovascular causes (p=0.17).

In the Collaborative Atorvastatin Diabetes Study (CARDS), the effect of atorvastatin on cardiovascular disease (CVD) endpoints was assessed in 2838 subjects (94% white, 68% male), ages 40–75 with type 2 diabetes based on WHO criteria, without prior history of cardiovascular disease, and with LDL ≤ 160 mg/dL and TG ≤ 600 mg/dL. In addition to diabetes, subjects had 1 or more of the following risk factors: current smoking (23%), hypertension (80%), retinopathy (30%), or microalbuminuria (9%) or macroalbuminuria (3%). No subjects on hemodialysis were enrolled in the study. In this multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial, subjects were randomly allocated to either atorvastatin 10 mg daily (1,429) or placebo (1,411) in a 1:1 ratio and were followed for a median duration of 3.9 years. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of any of the major cardiovascular events: myocardial infarction, acute CHD death, unstable angina, coronary revascularization, or stroke. The primary analysis was the time to first occurrence of the primary endpoint.

Baseline characteristics of subjects were: mean age of 62 years; mean HbA1c 7.7%; median LDL-C 120 mg/dL; median TC 207 mg/dL; median TG 151 mg/dL; median HDL-C 52 mg/dL.

The effect of atorvastatin 10 mg/day on lipid levels was similar to that seen in previous clinical trials.

Atorvastatin significantly reduced the rate of major cardiovascular events (primary endpoint events) (83 events in the atorvastatin group vs. 127 events in the placebo group) with a relative risk reduction of 37%, HR 0.63, 95% CI (0.48, 0.83) (p=0.001) (see Figure 4). An effect of atorvastatin was seen regardless of age, sex, or baseline lipid levels.

Atorvastatin significantly reduced the risk of stroke by 48% (21 events in the atorvastatin group vs. 39 events in the placebo group), HR 0.52, 95% CI (0.31, 0.89) (p=0.016) and reduced the risk of MI by 42% (38 events in the atorvastatin group vs. 64 events in the placebo group), HR 0.58, 95.1% CI (0.39, 0.86) (p=0.007). There was no significant difference between the treatment groups for angina, revascularization procedures, and acute CHD death.

There were 61 deaths in the atorvastatin group vs. 82 deaths in the placebo group (HR 0.73, p=0.059).

Figure 4: Effect of Atorvastatin 10 mg/day on Time to Occurrence of Major Cardiovascular Events (myocardial infarction, acute CHD death, unstable angina, coronary revascularization, or stroke) in CARDS

Effect of Atorvastatin 10 mg/day on Time to Occurrence of Major Cardiovascular Events - Illustration

In the Treating to New Targets Study (TNT), the effect of atorvastatin 80 mg/day vs. atorvastatin 10 mg/day on the reduction in cardiovascular events was assessed in 10,001 subjects (94% white, 81% male, 38% ≥ 65 years) with clinically evident coronary heart disease who had achieved a target LDL-C level < 130 mg/dL after completing an 8-week, open-label, run-in period with atorvastatin 10 mg/day. Subjects were randomly assigned to either 10 mg/day or 80 mg/day of atorvastatin and followed for a median duration of 4.9 years. The primary endpoint was the time to first occurrence of any of the following major cardiovascular events (MCVE): death from CHD, non-fatal myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest, and fatal and non-fatal stroke. The mean LDL-C, TC, TG, non-HDL, and HDL cholesterol levels at 12 weeks were 73, 145, 128, 98, and 47 mg/dL during treatment with 80 mg of atorvastatin and 99, 177, 152, 129, and 48 mg/dL during treatment with 10 mg of atorvastatin.

Treatment with atorvastatin 80 mg/day significantly reduced the rate of MCVE (434 events in the 80 mg/day group vs. 548 events in the 10 mg/day group) with a relative risk reduction of 22%, HR 0.78, 95% CI (0.69, 0.89), p=0.0002 (see Figure 5 and Table 8). The overall risk reduction was consistent regardless of age ( < 65, ≥ 65) or gender.

Figure 5: Effect of Atorvastatin 80 mg/day vs. 10 mg/day on Time to Occurrence of Major Cardiovascular Events (TNT)

Effect of Atorvastatin 80 mg/day vs. 10 mg/day on Time to Occurrence of Major Cardiovascular Events - Illustration

Table 8: Overview of Efficacy Results in TNT

Endpoint Atorvastatin 10 mg
Atorvastatin 80 mg
HRa(95% CI)
PRIMARY ENDPOINT n (%) n (%)  
First major cardiovascular endpoint 548 (10.9) 434 (8.7) 0.78 (0.69, 0.89)
Components of the Primary Endpoint
  CHD death 127 (2.5) 101 (2.0) 0.80 (0.61, 1.03)
  Non-fatal, non-procedure related MI 308 (6.2) 243 (4.9) 0.78 (0.66, 0.93)
  Resuscitated cardiac arrest 26 (0.5) 25 (0.5) 0.96 (0.56, 1.67)
  Stroke (fatal and non-fatal) 155 (3.1) 117 (2.3) 0.75 (0.59, 0.96)
First CHF with hospitalization 164 (3.3) 122 (2.4) 0.74 (0.59, 0.94)
First PVD endpoint 282 (5.6) 275 (5.5) 0.97 (0.83, 1.15)
First CABG or other coronary revascularization procedureb 904 (18.1) 667 (13.4) 0.72 (0.65, 0.80)
First documented angina endpointb 615 (12.3) 545 (10.9) 0.88 (0.79, 0.99)
All-cause mortality 282 (5.6) 284 (5.7) 1.01 (0.85, 1.19)
Components of All-Cause Mortality
  Cardiovascular death 155 (3.1) 126 (2.5) 0.81 (0.64, 1.03)
  Noncardiovascular death 127 (2.5) 158 (3.2) 1.25 (0.99, 1.57)
    Cancer death 75 (1.5) 85 (1.7) 1.13 (0.83, 1.55)
    Other non-CV death 43 (0.9) 58 (1.2) 1.35 (0.91, 2.00)
    Suicide, homicide, and other traumatic non-CV death 9 (0.2) 15 (0.3) 1.67 (0.73, 3.82)
a Atorvastatin 80 mg: atorvastatin 10 mg
b Component of other secondary endpoints
* Secondary endpoints not included in primary endpoint HR=hazard ratio; CHD=coronary heart disease; CI=confidence interval; MI=myocardial infarction; CHF=congestive heart failure; CV=cardiovascular; PVD=peripheral vascular disease; CABG=coronary artery bypass graft Confidence intervals for the Secondary Endpoints were not adjusted for multiple comparisons.

Of the events that comprised the primary efficacy endpoint, treatment with atorvastatin 80 mg/day significantly reduced the rate of non-fatal, non-procedure related MI and fatal and non-fatal stroke, but not CHD death or resuscitated cardiac arrest (Table 8). Of the predefined secondary endpoints, treatment with atorvastatin 80 mg/day significantly reduced the rate of coronary revascularization, angina, and hospitalization for heart failure, but not peripheral vascular disease. The reduction in the rate of CHF with hospitalization was only observed in the 8% of patients with a prior history of CHF.

There was no significant difference between the treatment groups for all-cause mortality (Table 8). The proportions of subjects who experienced cardiovascular death, including the components of CHD death and fatal stroke, were numerically smaller in the atorvastatin 80 mg group than in the atorvastatin 10 mg treatment group. The proportions of subjects who experienced noncardiovascular death were numerically larger in the atorvastatin 80 mg group than in the atorvastatin 10 mg treatment group.

In the Incremental Decrease in Endpoints Through Aggressive Lipid Lowering Study (IDEAL), treatment with atorvastatin 80 mg/day was compared to treatment with simvastatin 20–40 mg/day in 8,888 subjects up to 80 years of age with a history of CHD to assess whether reduction in CV risk could be achieved. Patients were mainly male (81%), white (99%) with an average age of 61.7 years, and an average LDL-C of 121.5 mg/dL at randomization; 76% were on statin therapy. In this prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded endpoint (PROBE) trial with no run-in period, subjects were followed for a median duration of 4.8 years. The mean LDL-C, TC, TG, HDL, and non-HDL cholesterol levels at Week 12 were 78, 145, 115, 45, and 100 mg/dL during treatment with 80 mg of atorvastatin and 105, 179, 142, 47, and 132 mg/dL during treatment with 20–40 mg of simvastatin.

There was no significant difference between the treatment groups for the primary endpoint, the rate of first major coronary event (fatal CHD, non-fatal MI, and resuscitated cardiac arrest): 411 (9.3%) in the atorvastatin 80 mg/day group vs. 463 (10.4%) in the simvastatin 20–40 mg/day group, HR 0.89, 95% CI ( 0.78, 1.01), p=0.07.

There were no significant differences between the treatment groups for all-cause mortality: 366 (8.2%) in the atorvastatin 80 mg/day group vs. 374 (8.4%) in the simvastatin 20–40 mg/day group. The proportions of subjects who experienced CV or non-CV death were similar for the atorvastatin 80 mg group and the simvastatin 20–40 mg group.

Atorvastatin For Hyperlipidemia (Heterozygous Familial And Nonfamilial) And Mixed Dyslipidemia (Fredrickson Types IIa and IIb)

Atorvastatin reduces total-C, LDL-C, VLDL-C, apo B, and TG, and increases HDL-C in patients with hyperlipidemia and mixed dyslipidemia. Therapeutic response is seen within 2 weeks, and maximum response is usually achieved within 4 weeks and maintained during chronic therapy.

Atorvastatin is effective in a wide variety of patient populations with hyperlipidemia, with and without hypertriglyceridemia, in men and women, and in the elderly.

In two multicenter, placebo-controlled, dose-response studies in patients with hyperlipidemia, atorvastatin given as a single dose over 6 weeks significantly reduced total-C, LDL-C, apo B, and TG. (Pooled results are provided in Table 9.)

Table 9: Dose Response in Patients with Primary Hyperlipidemia (Adjusted Mean % Change From Baseline)a

Placebo 21 4 4 3 10 -3 7
10 22 -29 -39 -32 -19 6 -34
20 20 -33 -43 -35 -26 9 -41
40 21 -37 -50 -42 -29 6 -45
80 23 -45 -60 -50 -37 5 -53
aResults are pooled from 2 dose-response studies.

In patients with Fredrickson Types IIa and IIb hyperlipoproteinemia pooled from 24 controlled trials, the median (25thand 75thpercentile) percent changes from baseline in HDL-C for atorvastatin 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg were 6.4 (-1.4, 14), 8.7 (0, 17), 7.8 (0, 16), and 5.1 (-2.7, 15), respectively. Additionally, analysis of the pooled data demonstrated consistent and significant decreases in total-C, LDL-C, TG, total-C/HDL-C, and LDL-C/HDL-C.

In three multicenter, double-blind studies in patients with hyperlipidemia, atorvastatin was compared to other statins. After randomization, patients were treated for 16 weeks with either atorvastatin 10 mg per day or a fixed dose of the comparative agent (Table 10).

Table 10: Mean Percentage Change from Baseline at Endpoint (Double-Blind, Randomized, Active-Controlled Trials)

Treatment (Daily Dose) N Total-C LDL-C Apo B TG HDL-C Non-HDL-C/ HDL-C
Study 1
Atorvastatin 10 mg 707 -27a -36a -28a -17a +7 -37a
Lovastatin 20 mg 191 -19 -27 -20 -6 +7 -28
95% CI for Diff1 -9.2, -6.5 -10.7, -7.1 -10.0, -6.5 -15.2, -7.1 -1.7, 2.0 -11.1, -7.1
Study 2
Atorvastatin 10 mg 222 -25b -35b -27b -17b +6 -36b
Pravastatin 20 mg 77 -17 -23 -17 -9 +8 -28
95% CI for Diff1 -10.8, -6.1 -14.5, -8.2 -13.4, -7.4 -14.1, -0.7 -4.9, 1.6 -11.5, -4.1
Study 3
Atorvastatin 10 mg 132 -29c -37c -34c -23c +7 -39c
Simvastatin 10 mg 45 -24 -30 -30 -15 +7 -33
95% CI for Diff1 -8.7, -2.7 -10.1, -2.6 -8.0, -1.1 -15.1, -0.7 -4.3, 3.9 -9.6, -1.9
1A negative value for the 95% CI for the difference between treatments favors atorvastatin for all except HDL-C, for which a positive value favors atorvastatin. If the range does not include 0, this indicates a statistically significant difference.
aSignificantly different from lovastatin, ANCOVA, p ≤ 0.05
bSignificantly different from pravastatin, ANCOVA, p ≤ 0.05
cSignificantly different from simvastatin, ANCOVA, p ≤ 0.05

The impact on clinical outcomes of the differences in lipid-altering effects between treatments shown in Table 10 is not known. Table 10 does not contain data comparing the effects of atorvastatin 10 mg and higher doses of lovastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin. The drugs compared in the studies summarized in the table are not necessarily interchangeable.

Atorvastatin For Hypertriglyceridemia (Fredrickson Type IV)

The response to atorvastatin in 64 patients with isolated hypertriglyceridemia treated across several clinical trials is shown in the table below (Table 11). For the atorvastatin-treated patients, median (min, max) baseline TG level was 565 (267–1502).

Table 11: Combined Patients with Isolated Elevated TG: Median (min, max) Percentage Change From Baseline


Atorvastatin 10 mg

Atorvastatin 20 mg

Atorvastatin 80 mg

Triglycerides -12.4
(-36.6, 82.7)
(-76.2, 49.4)
(-62.7, 29.5)
(-82.8, 41.3)
Total-C -2.3
(-15.5, 24.4)
(-44.9, -6.8)
(-49.6, -15.2)
(-63.5, -3.8)
LDL-C 3.6
(-31.3, 31.6)
(-57.7, 9.8)
(-53.9, 0.3)
(-60.6, -13.8)
HDL-C 3.8
(-18.6, 13.4)
(-9.7, 61.5)
(-3.2, 25.2)
(-10.8, 37.2)
VLDL-C -1.0
(-31.9, 53.2)
(-85.8, 57.3)
(-62.2, -10.8)
(-88.2, 37.6)
non-HDL-C -2.8
(-17.6, 30.0)
(-52.1, -13.3)
(-53.7, -17.4)
(-72.9, -4.3)

Atorvastatin For Dysbetalipoproteinemia (Fredrickson Type III)

The results of an open-label crossover study of 16 patients (genotypes: 14 apo E2/E2 and 2 apo E3/E2) with dysbetalipoproteinemia (Fredrickson Type III) are shown in the table below (Table 12).

Table 12: Open-Label Crossover Study of 16 Patients with Dysbetalipoproteinemia (Fredrickson Type III)

  Median (min, max) at Baseline (mg/dL) Median % Change (min, max)
Atorvastatin 10 mg Atorvastatin 80 mg
Total-C 442 (225, 1320) -37 (-85, 17) -58 (-90, -31)
Triglycerides 678 (273, 5990) -39 (-92, -8) -53 (-95, -30)
IDL-C + VLDL-C 215 (111, 613) -32 (-76, 9) -63 (-90, -8)
non-HDL-C 411 (218, 1272) -43 (-87, -19) -64 (-92, -36)

Atorvastatin For Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia

In a study without a concurrent control group, 29 patients ages 6 to 37 years with homozygous FH received maximum daily doses of 20 to 80 mg of atorvastatin. The mean LDL-C reduction in this study was 18%. Twenty-five patients with a reduction in LDL-C had a mean response of 20% (range of 7% to 53%, median of 24%); the remaining 4 patients had 7% to 24% increases in LDL-C. Five of the 29 patients had absent LDL-receptor function. Of these, 2 patients also had a portacaval shunt and had no significant reduction in LDL-C. The remaining 3 receptor-negative patients had a mean LDL-C reduction of 22%.

Atorvastatin For Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia In Pediatric Patients

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study followed by an open-label phase, 187 boys and postmenarchal girls 10-17 years of age (mean age 14.1 years) with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) or severe hypercholesterolemia, were randomized to atorvastatin (n=140) or placebo (n=47) for 26 weeks and then all received atorvastatin for 26 weeks. Inclusion in the study required 1) a baseline LDL-C level ≥ 190 mg/dL or 2) a baseline LDL-C level ≥ 160 mg/dL and positive family history of FH or documented premature cardiovascular disease in a first or second-degree relative. The mean baseline LDL-C value was 218.6 mg/dL (range: 138.5–385.0 mg/dL) in the atorvastatin group compared to 230.0 mg/dL (range: 160.0–324.5 mg/dL) in the placebo group. The dosage of atorvastatin (once daily) was 10 mg for the first 4 weeks and uptitrated to 20 mg if the LDL-C level was > 130 mg/dL. The number of atorvastatin-treated patients who required uptitration to 20 mg after Week 4 during the double-blind phase was 78 (55.7%).

Atorvastatin significantly decreased plasma levels of total-C, LDL-C, triglycerides, and apolipoprotein B during the 26-week double-blind phase (see Table 13).

Table 13: Lipid-Altering Effects of Atorvastatin in Adolescent Boys and Girls with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia or Severe Hypercholesterolemia (Mean Percentage Change from Baseline at Endpoint in Intention-to-Treat Population)

DOSAGE N Total-C LDL-C HDL-C TG Apolipoprotein B
Placebo 47 -1.5 -0.4 -1.9 1.0 0.7
Atorvastatin 140 -31.4 -39.6 2.8 -12.0 -34.0

The mean achieved LDL-C value was 130.7 mg/dL (range: 70.0–242.0 mg/dL) in the atorvastatin group compared to 228.5 mg/dL (range: 152.0–385.0 mg/dL) in the placebo group during the 26-week double-blind phase.

The safety and efficacy of doses above 20 mg have not been studied in controlled trials in children. The long-term efficacy of atorvastatin therapy in childhood to reduce morbidity and mortality in adulthood has not been established.

CADUET For Hypertension And Dyslipidemia

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, a total of 1660 patients with co-morbid hypertension and dyslipidemia received once daily treatment with eight dose combinations of amlodipine and atorvastatin (5/10, 10/10, 5/20, 10/20, 5/40, 10/40, 5/80, or 10/80 mg), amlodipine alone (5 mg or 10 mg), atorvastatin alone (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg), or placebo. In addition to concomitant hypertension and dyslipidemia, 15% of the patients had diabetes mellitus, 22% were smokers, and 14% had a positive family history of cardiovascular disease. At eight weeks, all eight combination-treatment groups of amlodipine and atorvastatin demonstrated statistically significant dose-related reductions in systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and LDL-C compared to placebo, with no overall modification of effect of either component on SBP, DBP, and LDL-C (Table 14).

Table 14: Effects of Amlodipine and Atorvastatin on Blood Pressure and LDL-C

BP (mmHg) Atorvastatin
Amlodipine 0 mg 10 mg 20 mg 40 mg 80 mg
0 mg -1.5/-0.8 -3.2/-0.6 -3.2/-1.8 -3.4/-0.8
5 mg -9.8/-4.3 -10.7/-4.9 -12.3/-6.1 -9.7/-4.0 -9.2/-5.1
10 mg -13.2/-7.1 -12.9/-5.8 -13.1/-7.3 -13.3/-6.5 -14.6/-7.8
LDL-C (% change) Atorvastatin
Amlodipine 0 mg 10 mg 20 mg 40 mg 80 mg
0 mg -32.3 -38.4 -42.0 -46.1
5 mg 1.0 -37.6 -41.2 -43.8 -47.3
1 o m 7Q -1.4 -35.5 -37.5 -42.1 -48.0


4Based on patient weight of 50 kg.

1National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP): Highlights of the Report of the Expert Panel on Blood Cholesterol Levels in Children and Adolescents, Pediatrics. 89(3):495-501. 1992.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/5/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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