Heart patients who lower their cholesterol levels well below levels recommended by doctors can substantially reduce their risk of suffering or dying of a heart attack, according to a recent study.

Drug company Bristol-Myers Squibb funded research that compared patients who took high doses of the most powerful cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor, with patients who took lower doses of a less potent drug called Pravachol.

National guidelines call for levels of LDL cholesterol, to be below 100 milligrams per deciliter in high-risk patients. However, data from the two-year study showed that patients on Lipitor whose levels of cholesterol dropped to 62, had less incidence of heart attack or death than those on Pravachol sporting levels of 95.