[Note: Statins, such as simvastatin, are cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs.]
Objective: To compare the lipid-lowering effects of an alternative regimen (lifestyle changes, red yeast rice, and fish oil) with a standard dose of a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor (statin).
Patients and Methods: This randomized trial enrolled 74 patients with hypercholesterolemia [high cholesterol] who met Adult Treatment Panel III criteria for primary prevention using statin therapy.
All participants were randomized to an alternative treatment group (AG) or to receive simvastatin (40 mg/d) in this open-label trial conducted between April 1, 2006, and June 30, 2006.
The alternative treatment included:
The simvastatin group received medication and traditional counseling.
The primary outcome measure was the percentage change in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)[referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol]. Secondary measures were changes in other lipoproteins and weight loss.
Conclusion: Lifestyle changes combined with ingestion of red yeast rice and fish oil reduced LDL-C in proportions similar to standard therapy with simvastatin.
Pending confirmation in larger trials, this multifactorial, alternative approach to lipid lowering has promise for a subset of patients unwilling or unable to take statins.
Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Jul 2008;83(7):758-64. PMID: 18613992, by Becker DJ, Gordon RY, Morris PB, Yorko J, Gordon YJ, Li M, Iqbal N. Division of Cardiology, Chestnut Hill Hospital, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA, USA. [E-mail: <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com]