We have compared the effects of lovastatin and simvastatin on plasma lipoproteins, fibrinogen and urinary mevalonic acid excretion in twenty-three patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. After a baseline period patients were randomly assigned to receive lovastatin or simvastatin at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mg twice daily, for a period of 2 months each, and then, after a 4-week wash-out period, all patients received the alternate drug for a similar period of therapy. Both drugs were well-tolerated and no patients were withdrawn due to side effects. Lipid values returned to baseline after discontinuation of therapy and no carry-over effect was observed. Treatment with lovastatin resulted in decreases in LDL cholesterol concentrations from 274 mg/dl at baseline to 211, 192 and 178 mg/dl, respectively, on doses of 20, 40 and 80 mg/day. Treatment with simvastatin reduced concentrations of LDL cholesterol to 194, 168 and 156 mg/dl, respectively, on doses of 20, 40 and 80 mg/day. Concentrations of HDL cholesterol increased on both drugs, but no dose response relationship was apparent. Both drugs reduced the 24-h urinary excretion of mevalonic acid, an intermediate in cholesterol biosynthesis, but the magnitude of decrease was similar with lovastatin and simvastatin. Small, but statistically non-significant decreases in fibrinogen occurred with both drugs. Patients who showed the greatest hypolipidemic effect during treatment with lovastatin also showed an excellent therapeutic response to simvastatin and vice versa. We conclude that, on a milligram per milligram basis, simvastatin is twice as potent as lovastatin in the treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia and that with both drugs, reductions in LDL cholesterol concentrations are accompanied by decreases in the urinary excretion of mevalonic acid.
- Hypolipidemic agents
- Low density lipoproteins
- Mevalonic acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine