Effects of policosanol in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and additional coronary risk factors.


Mas R, Castano G, Illnait J, Fernandez L, Fernandez J, Aleman C




Clin Pharmacol Ther


INTRODUCTION: This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of policosanol, a new cholesterol-lowering drug, in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia and additional coronary risk factors. PATIENTS AND METHODS: After 5 weeks of a standard step-1 lipid-lowering diet, 437 patients were randomized to receive, under double-blind conditions, 5 mg policosanol or placebo once a day with the evening meal for 12 weeks and 10 mg policosanol or placebo for the next 12 weeks. RESULTS: Both groups were similar at randomization. Policosanol (5 and 10 mg/day) significantly reduced (P < .001) serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (18.2% and 25.6%, respectively) and cholesterol (13.0% and 17.4%), and it significantly raised (P < .01) high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (15.5% and 28.4%). Triglycerides remained unchanged after the first 12 weeks and lowered significantly (5.2%; P < .01) at study completion. Policosanol was safe and well tolerated, and no drug-related disturbances were observed. Two male patients who received placebo died during the study--one because of a myocardial infarction and the other because of a cardiac arrest that occurred during a surgical intervention. There were 11 serious adverse events (5.1%) in 10 patients who received placebo (4.6%), 7 of which were vascular, compared with no serious adverse events reported in patients receiving policosanol (P < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Subjects in the group treated with policosanol did not have serious adverse events during the 24-week study. This study shows that policosanol is effective, safe, and well tolerated in patients with hypercholesterolemia and concomitant coronary risk factors.