Objectives: The main effect of statins is the decrease of serum level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, due to the inhibition of intracellular cholesterol biosynthesis which brings about an upregulation of LDL receptors. A minor effect is the decrease of serum triglycerides. The present study was undertaken to verify whether all statins are effective in reducing serum triglycerides and whether their effect on triglycerides is related to the LDL cholesterol lowering activity.
Methods: Of 197 hypercholesterolaemic patients on stable low-fat low-cholesterol diet, 49 were put on atorvastatin 10 mg per day, 48 on fluvastatin 40 mg per day, 50 on pravastatin 20 mg per day and 50 on simvastatin 10 mg per day.
Results: After 2 months, mean percentage change in serum triglycerides and LDL cholesterol resulted to be significantly different among the four treatment groups, whereas the ratio between the percentage decrease in serum triglycerides and that of LDL cholesterol (Deltatriglyceride/DeltaLDL cholesterol ratio) was not significantly different. Only baseline serum triglycerides resulted to be significantly associated with Deltatriglycerides/DeltaLDL cholesterol ratio. All statins are then effective in decreasing triglyceride levels.
Conclusion: The lack of a significant difference in Deltatriglycerides/DeltaLDL cholesterol ratio among the treatment groups suggests that the more effective the statin is in decreasing LDL cholesterol, the more it will also be in decreasing serum triglycerides.