The effects of simvastatin, a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, on plasma lipid levels were compared with those of the bile acid sequestrant cholestyramine in a randomized parallel study of 60 subjects with primary hypercholesterolaemia. After a 12-week direct comparison period 37 subjects with inadequate cholesterol reduction received a combination of both drugs and all subjects were followed for a further 40 weeks. Simvastatin was more effective than cholestyramine in lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels and the LDL/HDL ratio (-31.7% v. -19.7% [P < 0.01], -41.0% v. -31.8% [P < 0.05] and -46.7% v. -33.6% [P < 0.01], respectively at Week 12). Only simvastatin significantly increased the HDL cholesterol concentration (+13.3% [P < 0.01] v. +6.4%). Cholestyramine increased plasma triglyceride levels by 37.5% (P < 0.01) whereas simvastatin caused a slight non-significant reduction. Combined therapy produced a further decrease in total and LDL cholesterol levels, and in the LDL/HDL ratio, which was sustained for the duration of the study. Simvastatin was better tolerated than cholestyramine (P < 0.01), and combining the two drugs enhanced efficacy without increasing the frequency of side effects.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||The Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1990|