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The effect of supplemental dietary fat on plasma cholesterol levels in lovastatin-treated hypercholesterolemic patients.

Author(s): McKenney JM, Proctor JD, Wright JT Jr, Kolinski RJ, Elswick RK Jr, Coaker JS

Affiliation(s): School of Pharmacy, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298, USA.

Publication date & source: 1995-09, Pharmacotherapy., 15(5):565-72.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

STUDY OBJECTIVE. A validation study was conducted first to test assumptions about the effect of saturated and unsaturated dietary fat supplements. The second study was conducted to determine the effect on blood cholesterol levels of saturated and unsaturated fat supplements in patients who followed a low-fat diet and were administered lovastatin. DESIGN. Randomized, crossover design, with three periods in the first study and four in the second study, each lasting 6 weeks. SETTING. Cholesterol Research Center. PATIENTS. The first study evaluated adults with total cholesterol levels between 200 and 280 mg/dl (5.172 and 7.241 mmol/L). The second study included adults with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels above 160 mg/dl (4.138 mmol/L). INTERVENTIONS. Fat supplements with either coconut or canola oil were delivered to patients in oatmeal-raisin cookies. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS. In the validation study, patients' mean prerandomization total cholesterol level of 222 mg/dl was reduced to 213 mg/dl with canola oil and increased to 233 mg/dl with coconut oil cookies (p = 0.0038). In the second study the mean prerandomization total cholesterol level of 214 mg/dl was decreased to 199 mg/dl with canola oil and to 208 mg/dl with coconut oil cookies (p = 0.2342). The LDL cholesterol levels changed in a similar fashion in both studies. CONCLUSIONS. Changes in total and LDL cholesterol levels in the validation study were expected based on established effects of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, but changes in these levels in lovastatin-cookie study were not expected. They could have occurred because lovastatin reversed the effect of saturated fats and enhanced the effect of unsaturated fats. Alternatively, they may have been due to enhanced bioavailability of lovastatin when administered with a high-fat diet. These findings must be confirmed.

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