Comparison of the effects of policosanol and atorvastatin on lipid profile and platelet aggregation in patients with dyslipidaemia and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Clin Drug Investig. 2003;23(10):639-50. PMID: 17535079
Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering drug, purified from sugarcane wax, with a therapeutic range of 5-20 mg/day, which significantly reduces LDL-C levels. Atorvastatin is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor that, across its dose range (10-80 mg/day), has shown significantly greater lipid-lowering effects than all previously marketed statins. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects on lipid profile and platelet aggregation of policosanol and atorvastatin in patients with dyslipidaemia due to type 2 diabetes. RESULTS: After 8 weeks of therapy, policosanol significantly lowered LDL-C by 25.7% (p < 0.0001 versus baseline) and total cholesterol (TC) by 18.2% (p < 0.001 versus baseline). In turn, atorvastatin 10 mg/day decreased LDL-C by 41.9% and TC by 31.5% (p < 0.0001 versus baseline). Atorvastatin was more effective than policosanol in reducing LDL-C and TC (p < 0.001). Policosanol also significantly reduced the TC/high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) ratio (25.2%; p < 0.0001) and triglycerides (15.6%; p < 0.001), while atorvastatin lowered TC/HDL-C by 30.5% (p < 0.0001) and triglycerides by 13.9% (p < 0.001); the reductions on these variables were similar in the two groups. Policosanol, but not atorvastatin, significantly increased HDL-C (11.1%; p < 0.01), the effect being significantly different from that of atorvastatin (p < 0.0001). Also, policosanol, but not atorvastatin, significantly inhibited platelet aggregation induced by arachidonic acid 0.75 and 1.5 mmol/L (39.0% and 33.3%, respectively) and by collagen 0.25 and 0.5 mug/mL (15.7% and 28.5%, respectively) [p < 0.001]. CONCLUSION: Policosanol (10 mg/day) for 8 weeks was less effective than similar doses of atorvastatin in reducing LDL-C and TC in patients with dyslipidaemia due to type 2 diabetes, but more effective in increasing HDL-C. Both drugs similarly reduced the TC/HDL-C ratio and triglycerides. Policosanol showed additional advantages regarding inhibition of platelet aggregation. Nevertheless, further studies of longer duration and using dose-titration schemes to achieve LDL-C goals are needed for wider conclusions about the respective effects of these two drugs in such a population subset.