Paroxetine-induced increase in LDL cholesterol levels
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Paroxetine is widely prescribed because it has the indication for multiple psychiatric disorders. Our objective was to assess the effect of short-term administration of paroxetine on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels in both healthy controls (HCs) and in patients with panic disorder (PD). Blood samples for measurement of LDL-C were collected atbaseline, after 8 weeks of paroxetine administration and post-discontinuation in 24 male HCs and nine male patients suffering from PD, for a total of 33 subjects. Paroxetine treatment, both in HCs and PD patients, induced a mean 9% increase per subject in LDL-C that normalized post-discontinuation, suggesting causality. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines suggest that this paroxetine-induced increase in LDL-C is clinically significant but would not warrant therapeutic intervention in this population selected to be at low cardiovascular risk. However, the increase in LDL-C levels raised above the threshold of 2.7 mmol/L (100 mg/dL) in 36% of our low-risk subjects. The LDL-C increase in this subgroup would be associated with a minor increase in coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. A similar 9% paroxetine-induced increase in LDL-C observed in the large number of psychiatric patients suffering from comorbid established CHD would be detrimental from a cardiovascular perspective and would oppose the new NCEP therapeutic goals of decreasing LDL-C levels by 30-40% in high and moderately high-risk patients. It is possible that longer treatment duration and use of higher doses of paroxetine would lead to a greater increase in LDL-C.
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