Effects of Policosanol and Ticlopidine in Patients with Intermittent Claudication: A Double-Blinded Pilot Comparative Study

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Abstract

Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering drug with concomitant antiplatelet effects. The present study was undertaken to compare the effects of policosanol and ticlopidine in patients with moderately severe intermittent claudication (IC). The study had a 4-week baseline step, followed by a 20-week double-blinded, randomized treatment period. Twenty-eight eligible patients were randomized to policosanol 10 mg or ticlopidine 250 mg tablets twice daily (bid). Walking distances in a treadmill (constant speed 3.2 km/hr, slope 10°, temperature 25°C) were assessed before and after 20 weeks of treatment. Both groups were similar at baseline. Compared with baseline, policosanol significantly increased (p<0.01) mean values of initial (ICD) and absolute (ACD) claudication distances from 162.1 to 273.2 m and from 255.8 to 401.0 m, respectively. Ticlopidine also raised significantly (p<0.01) ICD (166.2 to 266.3 m) and ACD (252.9 to 386.4 m). Comparisons between groups did not show significant differences. Policosanol, but not ticlopidine, significantly (p<0.05), but modestly, increased the ankle/arm pressure ratio. After 10 weeks, policosanol significantly (p<0.001) lowered low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (TC) (p<0.01), and TC/HDL-C and raised (p<0.05) high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C). At study completion, policosanol lowered (p<0.001) LDL-C (30.2%), TC (16.9%), and TC/HDL-C (33.9%), increased (p<0.01) HDL-C (+31.7%), and left triglycerides unchanged. Ticlopidine did not affect the lipid profile variable. Policosanol induced modest, but significant, reductions (p<0.01) of fibrinogen levels compared with baseline and ticlopidine. Treatments were well tolerated and did not impair safety indicators. Three ticlopidine patients (21.4%) withdrew from the trial, only 1 owing to a serious adverse experience (AE) (unstable angina). Three other ticlopidine patients experienced mild AE (headache, diarrhea, and acidity). It is concluded that policosanol (10 mg bid) can be as effective as ticlopidine (250 mg bid) for improving walking distances of claudicant patients, and it could be advantageous for the global risk of these individuals owing to its cholesterol-lowering effects. This study is, however, just a pilot comparison, so that further studies in larger sample sizes are needed for definitive conclusions of the comparative effects of both drugs on patients with IC.

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