Cerivastatin: a review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic efficacy in the management of hypercholesterolaemia

Drugs. 2000 Nov;60(5):1179-206. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200060050-00011.


Cerivastatin is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor used for the treatment of patients with hypercholesterolaemia. The lipid-lowering efficacy of cerivastatin has been demonstrated in a number of large multicentre, randomised clinical trials. Earlier studies used cerivastatin at relatively low dosages of < or =0.3mg orally once daily, but more recent studies have focused on dosages of 0.4 or 0.8 mg/day currently recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Along with modest improvements in serum levels of triglycerides and high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, cerivastatin 0.4 to 0.8 mg/day achieved marked reductions in serum levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol (33.4 to 44.0%) and total cholesterol (23.0 to 30.8%). These ranges included results of a pivotal North American trial in almost 1000 patients with hypercholesterolaemia. In this 8-week study, US National Cholesterol Education Program (Adult Treatment Panel II) [NCEP] target levels for LDL-cholesterol were achieved in 84% of patients randomised to receive cerivastatin 0.8 mg/day, 73% of those treated with cerivastatin 0.4 mg/day and <10% of placebo recipients. Among patients with baseline serum LDL-cholesterol levels meeting NCEP guidelines for starting pharmacotherapy, 75% achieved target LDL-cholesterol levels with cerivastatin 0.8 mg/day. In 90% of all patients receiving cerivastatin 0.8 mg/day, LDL-cholesterol levels were reduced by 23.9 to 58.4% (6th to 95th percentile). Various subanalyses of clinical trials with cerivastatin indicate that the greatest lipid-lowering response can be expected in women and elderly patients. Cerivastatin is generally well tolerated and adverse events have usually been mild and transient. The overall incidence and nature of adverse events reported with cerivastatin in clinical trials was similar to that of placebo. The most frequent adverse events associated with cerivastatin were headache, GI disturbances, asthenia, pharyngitis and rhinitis. In the large pivotal trial, significant elevations in serum levels of creatine kinase and transaminases were reported in a small proportion of patients receiving cerivastatin but not in placebo recipients. As with other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, rare reports of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis have occurred with cerivastatin, although gemfibrozil or cyclosporin were administered concomitantly in most cases. Postmarketing surveillance studies in the US have been performed. In 3 mandated formulary switch conversion studies, cerivastatin was either equivalent or superior to other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, including atorvastatin, in reducing serum LDL-cholesterol levels or achieving NCEP target levels. Pharmacoeconomic data with cerivastatin are limited, but analyses conducted to date in the US and Italy suggest that cerivastatin compares favourably with other available HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in terms of its cost per life-year gained.

Conclusion: Cerivastatin is a well tolerated and effective lipid-lowering agent for patients with hypercholesterolaemia. When given at dosages currently recommended by the FDA in the US, cerivastatin achieves marked reductions in serum levels of LDL-cholesterol, reaching NCEP target levels in the vast majority of patients. Thus, cerivastatin provides a useful (and potentially cost effective) alternative to other currently available HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors as a first-line agent for hypercholesterolaemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Endothelium / drug effects
  • Endothelium / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridines / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyridines
  • cerivastatin