This cost-consequences analysis of the Air Force/Texas Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention Study compares the costs of lovastatin treatment with the costs of cardiovascular hospitalizations and procedures. The cost of lovastatin treatment was defined as the average retail price and the cost of drug safety monitoring and adverse experiences. Costs were determined by actual rates of hospitalizations and procedures. Within a trial, lovastatin treatment cost approximately $4,654/patient. Lovastatin treatment significantly reduced the cumulative rate of cardiovascular hospitalizations and procedures (p = 0.002). Over the duration of the study, the cumulative number of cardiovascular hospitalizations and related therapeutic procedures was significantly reduced by 29%. The time to first cardiovascular-related hospitalization or procedure was significantly extended by lovastatin (p = 0.002). Lovastatin reduced the frequency of cardiovascular hospitalization (28%), and cardiovascular therapeutic (32%) and diagnostic procedures (23%). Among therapeutic procedures, treatment reduced coronary artery bypass graft surgery by 19% and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty by 37%. Total cardiovascular-related hospital days were reduced by 26% (p = 0.025). The between-group offset in direct medical costs was $524, which resulted in a 11% cost offset of lovastatin therapy over the mean study duration of 5.2 years. Lovastatin provides meaningful reductions in cardiovascular-related resource utilization and reductions in direct cardiovascular-related costs associated with the onset of coronary disease. (C) 2000 by Excerpta Medica, Inc.