Efficacy and safety of ursodeoxycholic acid in primary, type IIa or IIb hypercholesterolemia: A multicenter, randomized, double-blind clinical trial
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BACKGROUND: Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is a therapeutic bile acid used in dissolution of gallstones and treatment of several cholestatic liver diseases. Results obtained from primary biliary cirrhosis patients treated with UDCA suggested that this agent exerts significant cholesterol-lowering effects and justifies evaluation in primary hypercholesterolemic patients without liver disease. Purpose of this study was to determine whether UDCA had potential to be an effective, safe cholesterol-lowering agent in primary type IIa or IIb hypercholesterolemia. METHODS: This was a multicenter randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. After a 6-week placebo lead-in period during which two qualifying lipid profiles were obtained, patients with a mean serum LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) between 130 and 190mg/dL, triglycerides <400mg/dL and HDL-cholesterol >30mg/dL were randomized to UDCA or matching placebo for 24 weeks. RESULTS: Seven sites screened 200 patients with 134 patients meeting the entry criteria who were randomized to the two treatments. There were 125 patients meeting the efficacy evaluation criteria, 57 on UDCA and 68 on placebo. LDL-C change from weeks 0 to 24 showed no significant difference between groups. No significant differences in changes for total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were observed. Both groups had similar adverse event profiles. CONCLUSIONS: UDCA did not show intrinsic cholesterol-lowering properties and therefore is not a useful therapy in treating type IIa or type IIb hypercholesterolemic patients. UDCA was confirmed as a well tolerated and safe drug in this population.
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