According to drug maker Pfizer it's top selling product worldwide, the cholesterol lowering medication Lipitor (Atorvastatin) has been shown to improve kidney function in patients with heart disease.
Lipitor is the most prescribed cholesterol-lowering therapy in the world, with nearly 107 million patient-years of experience.
It is used, in patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease such as family history, high blood pressure, age, low HDL cholesterol or smoking, to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke and, along with a low-fat diet, to lower cholesterol.
Lipitor is also used in patients with type 2 diabetes and one other risk factor such as high blood pressure, smoking, or other complications of diabetes, including eye disease and protein in urine, to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Lipitor is not for everyone. It is not suitable for those with liver problems or for women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant.
An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) where the kidneys cannot effectively filter the toxins from the blood, which can lead to kidney failure.
People with elevated total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol, or "bad" cholesterol are often at an increased risk of developing kidney dysfunction.
In a large clinical study ' Treating to New Targets (TNT) trial ', involving 8,000 patients, it was found the improvement in kidney function was significantly greater among patients taking the 80 milligram highest dose of Lipitor.
Fifty percent of patients taking Lipitor 80 mg were no longer classified as having chronic kidney disease.
Dr. James Shepherd, TNT steering committee member and clinical academic consultant, Department of Pathological Biochemistry, University of Glasgow Medical School, says they anticipated that Atorvastatin might provide a protective effect and slow the typical decline in kidney function in this patient population, but they didn't expect to see such a level of improvement.
The TNT trial was coordinated by an independent steering committee and funded by Pfizer. The study enrolled men and women between 35 and 75 years of age in 14 countries.
Demographic characteristics for the patients included in this current analysis were similar to the overall TNT population and were well balanced between treatment groups.