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Research Article

Treatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia. United Kingdom lipid clinics study of pravastatin and cholestyramine.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: (Published 23 May 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:1335
  1. D. J. Betteridge,
  2. D. Bhatnager,
  3. R. F. Bing,
  4. P. N. Durrington,
  5. G. R. Evans,
  6. H. Flax,
  7. R. H. Jay,
  8. N. Lewis-Barned,
  9. J. Mann,
  10. D. R. Matthews
  1. University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, Middlesex Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To compare the efficacy and safety of cholestyramine, an anion exchange resin, and pravastatin, a new hydrophilic specific inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, in the treatment of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia. DESIGN--Double blind, double dummy, placebo controlled study with three parallel groups. SETTING--Six specialist lipid clinics in the United Kingdom. PATIENTS--128 patients aged 18-70 with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia diagnosed on strict biochemical and clinical findings. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Total plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, and lipoprotein subfractions and biochemical and haematological safety parameters. RESULTS--Pravastatin (40 mg/day) led to a 25% reduction in total plasma cholesterol concentration and a reduction in low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration of 30%. Cholestyramine (24 g/day) led to similar reductions in concentrations of total cholesterol (23%) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (31%). No consistent changes occurred in high density lipoprotein cholesterol values with either compound. Plasma triglyceride concentrations showed a small rise (18%) on resin therapy. No serious adverse drug reactions occurred during the study. CONCLUSIONS--Pravastatin seems to be a highly effective, well tolerated drug for severe hypercholesterolaemia. Patients chosen for this study were recruited on the basis that they could tolerate a full dose of cholestyramine, and in this situation cholestyramine was also highly effective in lowering plasma low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.