Red yeast rice lowers LDL cholesterol in patients who cannot tolerate statins, reports Annals of Internal Medicine.

11 June 2008


Red yeast rice lowers LDL cholesterol in patients who cannot tolerate statins, reports Annals of Internal Medicine.

Some 60 patients who had discontinued statins owing to myalgia were
randomized to receive red yeast rice supplements (1800 mg twice daily) or
placebo for 24 weeks. (Red yeast rice contains naturally occurring
lovastatin.) All patients also participated in a 12-week lifestyle change
program focused on nutrition, exercise, and relaxation techniques.

Mean LDL cholesterol levels at 12 and 24 weeks fell by 27% and 21%
respectively, with red yeast rice, and by 6% and 9%, respectively, with
placebo. The differences between groups were statistically significant. The
supplement appeared safe in terms of new-onset muscle pain, as well as
creatinine phosphokinase and liver enzyme levels.

The authors acknowledge the study's limitations, including the small sample
size and short duration. Still, they conclude that their intervention "may
provide a therapeutic lipid-lowering option for the large cohort of
patients" with statin-associated myalgia.


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