Dietary advice with or without pravastatin for the management of hypercholesterolaemia associated with protease inhibitor therapy


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Abstract

BackgroundTherapy with a HIV protease inhibitor is associated with elevations in cholesterol and triglycerides. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (`statins') are the established therapy for persons with primary hypercholesterolaemia. Because of drug interactions, pravastatin may represent the preferred choice in those taking HIV protease inhibitors.DesignA randomized, open-label comparative 24 week trial of dietary advice alone or with pravastatin in 31 male patients established on protease inhibitor-based regimens for greater than 12 weeks with viral load < 500 copies/ml and cholesterol > 6.5 mmol/l.ResultsThere were no significant clinical or laboratory events and no patient discontinuation secondary to adverse effects. Viral rebound did not occur. Relative to baseline, total cholesterol at week 24 fell significantly in the pravastatin (1.2 mmol/l; 17.3%) (P < 0.05) but not in the dietary advice (0.3 mmol/l; 4%) group. The difference between the two groups approached significance at week 24 (P = 0.051). This fall was accounted for entirely by a reduction in low density lipoprotein [calculated change 1.24 mmol/l (19%) and 0.07 mmol (5.5%) in pravastatin and dietary advice groups, respectively] as high density lipoprotein rose non-significantly by 0.6 mmol/l in both groups. Weight, basal metabolic rate, fasting glucose and triglycerides did not change significantly in either group.ConclusionsDietary advice plus pravastatin significantly reduced total cholesterol in HIV-positive individuals taking protease inhibitors, without significant adverse effects. The inclusion of pravastatin substantially increases the magnitude of the change, which is comparable with changes achieved in endogenous hyperlipidaemia.

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