Toxicity of policosanol in beagle dogs: one-year study.


Mesa AR, Mas R, Noa M, Hernandez C, Rodeiro I, Gamez R




Toxicol Lett


Policosanol is a new chemical entity composed of 8 higher aliphatic alcohols obtained from sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum), L. wax, whose cholesterol-lowering effects have been demonstrated in experimental models, healthy volunteers and patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. This study investigated the oral toxicity of policosanol administered for 52 weeks to beagle dogs. Twenty-four beagle dogs (12 males and 12 females) were distributed randomly in 3 experimental groups (4 animals/group): a control and 2 treated groups receiving policosanol at 30 and 180 mg/kg daily (7 days/week) by gavage. No mortality was observed in any group. Overall, policosanol was well tolerated throughout the study and no toxic symptoms were observed. All groups showed similar weight gain and food consumption. Lipid profile determinations showed that policosanol decreased total cholesterol by 20% approximately from 8 to 52 weeks. Cholesterol-lowering effects did not wear off during the study, thus demonstrating the persistence of the effectiveness. Triglycerides and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) were not changed significantly. No blood biochemistry or histopathological disturbances attributable to treatment were observed. This study has shown that no drug-related toxicity was induced by policosanol administered up to 180 mg/kg/day for 52 weeks to beagle dogs. Since this dose is approximately 620 times higher than the maximal recommended therapeutic dose (20 mg/day) it indicates a good safety margin of this product.