Lovastatin treatment of hypercholesterolemia in renal transplant recipients

Bertram L. Kasiske, Kathryn L. Tortorice, Karen L Heim-Duthoy, Joelyn M. Goryance, K. Venkateswara rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The treatment of hypercholesterolemia in renal transplant recipients has been problematic. In the present double-blind study, 11 patients were treated with diet for at least 4 weeks. They were then randomized to placebo or the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor, lovastatin (20 mg/day) for 6 weeks, followed by crossover to an additional 6 weeks of lovastatin or placebo. All patients had stable allograft function 8.4±1.2 years (mean ± SEM) after transplantation, and received low-dose prednisone and azathioprine immunosuppression. Compared with diet alone, lovastatin caused a 21% reduction in total cholesterol from 307±14 mg/dL to 244±13 mg/dL (P<0.05). Lovastatin reduced LDL cholesterol 28% from 214±12 mg/dL to 155±11 mg/dL (P<0.05). Trends toward favorable changes in HDL cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and apolipoproteins were not statistically significant. Liver enzymes, creatine phosphokinase, and renal function remained stable. With lovastatin there was a 27% increase in the WBC (from 6220±530 cells/mm3 to 7780±510 cells/mm3, P<0.05) that was attributable toa 45% increase in neutrophils (P<0.05). This effect of lovastatin, possibly the result of reduced azathioprine bone marrow suppression, could have important implications for immunosuppressive therapy in this patient population. Altogether, these results suggest that lovastatin may be a safe and effective treatment for hypercholesterolemia in renal transplant recipients receiving conventional immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990


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