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Combination therapy with low-dose lovastatin and niacin is as effective as higher-dose lovastatin.

Author(s): Gardner SF, Schneider EF, Granberry MC, Carter IR

Affiliation(s): Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA.

Publication date & source: 1996-05, Pharmacotherapy., 16(3):419-23.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

STUDY OBJECTIVES. To determine if low-dose lovastatin in combination with niacin causes a greater percentage reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol than lovastatin alone, and to determine if the combination increases the risk of serious adverse effects. design. Prospective, randomized, open-label, clinical trial. setting. Family medicine clinic of a university-affiliated hospital. Patients. Patients with fasting LDL cholesterol concentrations of at least 150 mg/dl after 4 weeks of dietary stabilization and washout of any cholesterol-lowering drugs. INTERVENTIONS. Twenty-eight patients received lovastatin 20 mg/day for 4 weeks after dietary stabilization and washout. If LDL cholesterol remained above 130 mg/dl (100 mg/dl in patients with coronary artery disease), they were randomized to receive either lovastatin 40 mg/day or a combination of lovastatin 20 mg/day and niacin 500 mg 3 times/day. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS. There was no difference in actual or percentage reductions of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides between the groups. A greater increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol occurred with combination therapy (p = 0.024). There was no difference in liver function tests, glucose, or uric acid between the therapies. Based on drug-acquisition cost, combination therapy is approximately 40% less expensive than monotherapy. CONCLUSION. Low-dose niacin plus low-dose lovastatin was as effective as higher-dose lovastatin in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. The combination may offer benefit in raising HDL cholesterol levels.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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