Major diet-drug interactions affecting the kinetic characteristics and hypolipidaemic properties of statins

Nutr Hosp. 2010 Mar-Apr;25(2):193-206.


Concomitant administration of statins with food may alter statin pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics, increasing the risk of adverse reactions such as myopathy or rhabdomyolysis or reducing their pharmacological action. This paper reviews major interactions between statins and dietary compounds. Consumption of pectin or oat bran together with Lovastatin reduces absorption of the drug, while alcohol intake does not appear to affect the efficacy and safety of Fluvastatin treatment. Grapefruit juice components inhibit cytochrome P-4503A4, reducing the presystemic metabolism of drugs such as Simvastatin, Lovastatin and Atorvastatin. Follow-up studies on the therapeutic effect of statins in patients consuming a Mediterranean-style diet are necessary to assure the correct prescription because the oil-statin and minor oil compound-statin possible interactions have been only briefly studied. Preliminary study suggests that olive oil can increase the hypolipaemiant effect of Simvastatin with respect sunflower oil. The consumption of polyunsaturated rich oils, throughout the cytochrome P- 450 activation could decrease the half-life of some statins and therefore their hypolipaemic effects. The statins and n-3 fatty acids combined therapy gives rise to pharmacodinamic interaction that improves the lipid profile and leads greater cardioprotection. Although statins are more effective in high endogenous cholesterol production subjects and plant sterols are more effective in high cholesterol absorption efficacy subjects, plant esterols-statins combined therapy generates very positive complementary effects. This review ends suggesting possible diet-stain interactions that require further investigations (e.g. types of olive oils, fruit juices other than grapefruit, fibre or consumption of alcoholic beverages rich in polyphenols or ethanol).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beverages
  • Citrus paradisi
  • Fatty Acids
  • Food-Drug Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Phytosterols


  • Fatty Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Phytosterols