Effects of policosanol on postmenopausal women with type II hypercholesterolemia


Castano G, Mas R, Fernandez L, Fernandez JC, Illnait J, Lopez LE, Alvarez E




Gynecol Endocrinol


This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to investigate the efficacy, safety and tolerability of policosanol, a cholesterol-lowering drug purified from sugar-cane wax, in postmenopausal women with type II hypercholesterolemia. A total of 244 women who had experienced the menopause and showed elevated serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels despite 6 weeks on a standard lipid-lowering diet were randomized to receive placebo or policosanol 5 mg/day for 12 weeks, after which the dose was doubled to 10 mg/day for the next 12 weeks. Policosanol (5 and 10 mg/day) significantly lowered LDL-C levels (17.7% and 25.2%, respectively) and total cholesterol (12.6% and 16.7%, respectively), as well as the ratios of LDL-C to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (17.0% and 29.3%, respectively) and total cholesterol to HDL-C (16.7% and 27.2%, respectively), compared to the baseline and placebo; at the same time, policosanol significantly raised HDL-C levels by 16.5% and 29.3%, respectively. The drug was safe and well tolerated. No drug-related adverse events were observed, and even the extent of adverse events was less in the policosanol group than in the placebo group. Four serious adverse events occurred in the placebo group (one myocardial infarction, two cases of hypertensive status and one surgical intervention) compared to none in the policosanol group. In conclusion, policosanol is effective, safe and well tolerated in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women.