Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Background : Red yeast rice/policosanol supplements have been studied by manycountries that showed cholesterol lowering effect, especially LDL-C,however there has not been any study done on this topic in Thailand.Objective : To compare the cholesterol lowering effects of red yeast rice/policosanolwith placebo in hypercholesterolemic outpatients.Research design : Human experimental study (prospective, randomized, double-blind,two-way crossover study).Setting : General internal medicine clinic, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.Method : After informed consent and 4 week washout period, fourteenhypercholesterolemic outpatients were randomly assigned withconcealed allocation to receive either red yeast rice/policosanol (eachcapsule contained 100/5 mg) 2 capsules or 2 capsules of placebodaily for 4 weeks. Then there was a 4-week washout period followedby a crossover to the other treatment for another 4 weeks. Cholesterollowering effects (total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglyceride and HDL-C), liverand muscle enzymes were assessed at the end of each 4-weektreatment period.Results : Baseline patients characteristics were similar between the two groups.(p >0.05) Red yeast rice/policosanol significantly reduced totalcholesterol and LDL-C from baseline. Total cholesterol significantlyreduced from 235.14 ± 37.77 to 213.64 ± 30.98 mg/dL (p = 0.007)and LDL-C significantly reduced from 162.09 ± 25.97 to 139.84 ± 2mg/dL. (p = 0.001) Triglyceride and HDL-C did not change significantly.Serial monitoring of serum hepatic transaminase and creatine kinaselevel revealed no significant increased in the value after 4 weeks.There was also an insignificant changed in blood pressure, fastingblood sugar or serum creatinine throughout the study period.Conclusion : Four-week dietary supplement with red yeast rice/policosanol at afixed dose 200/10 mg per day significantly reduced total cholesteroland LDL-C from baseline. There was no significant difference intriglyceride and HDL-C levels compared with baseline. The dose andduration of the nutritional supplement of red yeast rice/ policosanolused in this study appeared to be safe.


Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University

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