Comparison of the short-term efficacy and tolerability of lovastatin and pravastatin in the management of primary hypercholesterolemia.
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Few data are available on the relative efficacy and tolerability of lovastatin and pravastatin, two 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, currently available in North America for treatment of hypercholesterolemia. The recommended starting dose is 20 mg QD with the evening meal for lovastatin. The recommended starting dose is 10 mg or 20 mg once daily at bedtime for pravastatin. In a double blind, double placebo, multicenter, randomized study, we compared the changes in plasma lipids and apolipoproteins in 217 patients with primary hypercholesterolemia treated for eight weeks with lovastatin 20 mg QD to pravastatin 10 mg QD or pravastatin 20 mg QD. The reductions in total cholesterol (TC) (21%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (28%), and apolipoprotein B (apo B) (22%) were comparable for the lovastatin 20-mg and pravastatin 20-mg groups. Lovastatin 20 mg QD was significantly more effective than pravastatin 10 mg QD in lowering TC and LDL-C after four weeks of therapy and in the reduction of apo B after four and eight weeks of therapy. At the end of eight weeks of therapy, the mean reductions in TC and LDL-C were numerically greater with lovastatin 20 mg QD compared with pravastatin 10 mg QD, but the differences were not statistically significant. At the end of eight weeks, there was no difference between pravastatin 20 mg and pravastatin 10 mg in lowering TC and LDL-C. The frequency of overall side effects, including central nervous system-related symptoms and headache, was similar and low in all groups.
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