A double-blind placebo controlled trial of simvastatin for the treatment of dyslipidaemia in renal allograft recipients

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Background:With current techniques, renal failure patients are now able to regain near-normal health following renal transplantation. However, the development of premature cardiovascular disease is a major problem. Dyslipidaemia may be an important contributor to this. The use of lipid lowering agents in renal allograft recipients has been limited by potential interaction of these agents with the now widely used immunosuppressive agent, cyclosporine.Aim:This study was designed to investigate efficacy and safety of simvastatin in subjects taking either cyclosporine or azothioprine post renal transplantation.Methods:Fifty-one subjects (32 females, 19 males - mean age 51 ± 12.5 yr) who were at least 1 yr post transplant, had creatinine ≤2.5 mmol/L and a total cholesterol ≥6 mmol/L were enrolled in a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. After an initial 10-wk dietary period, the last 4 wk on placebo, subjects were randomised to receive either 5 mg simvastatin/d for 6 wk followed by 10 mg simvastatin/d for 6 wk, or matching placebo. After this 12-wk double-blind phase, there was an open-label phase when all subjects were treated with 10 mg simvastatin/d for a period of 36 wk.Results:Compared to placebo, 5 mg simvastatin/d significantly decreased total cholesterol by 20% (p < 0.01), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) by 29% (p < 0.01), and Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) by 26% (p < 0.01). Increasing simvastatin to 10 mg/d did not lead to further significant changes. But high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) increased by 9% (p < 0.01) and Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) by 7% (p < 0.01) only on 10 mg simvastatin/d. During the open-label phase, subjects previously randomised to placebo achieved similar significant changes to their lipoprotein profile. The benefits achieved from simvastatin were maintained to the end of the study. There were three withdrawals from the study, all from the simvastatin/cyclosporine group. Two subjects had musculoskeletal pain and 1 had abdominal pain. Minor adverse events were similar in both the simvastatin- and placebo-treated groups.Conclusion:Low-dose simvastatin is an effective and well-tolerated agent in the treatment of dyslipidaemia in renal allograft recipients.

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