Red yeast rice induces less muscle fatigue symptom than simvastatin in dyslipidemic patients: a single center randomized pilot trial

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2017 May 18;17(1):127. doi: 10.1186/s12872-017-0560-z.


Background: About 10-15% patients who take statins experience skeletal muscle problems. Red yeast rice has a good safety profile could provide a compromise therapeutic strategy. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of red yeast rice, when compared to simvastatin, on the muscle fatigue symptom and the serum lipid level in dyslipidemic patients with low to moderate cardiovascular risk.

Methods: A total of 60 dyslipidemic patients with low to moderate cardiovascular risk were recruited and randomly assigned to receive either simvastatin (n = 33) or red yeast rice (n = 27) for 4 weeks. The muscle fatigue score, the physical activity, the serum lipid profile and the safety profile were then evaluated.

Results: At the end of study, the fatigue score was significantly increased in patients treated with simvastatin, whereas no significant change was observed in patients receiving red yeast rice. In addition, the physical activity level was significantly decreased in patients from simvastatin group when compared to those from red yeast rice group. Similar lipid-lowering effects were observed in two groups. The safety profile was not affected after the treatments.

Conclusions: Among dyslipidemic patients with low to moderate cardiovascular risk, red yeast rice induced less fatigue side effect and exerted comparable lipid-lowering effects when compared to simvastatin in this pilot primary prevention study.

Trial registration: NCT01686451 .

Keywords: Dyslipidemia; Lipid-lowering effects; Muscle fatigue symptom; Physical activity; Red yeast rice; Simvastatin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Products / adverse effects
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • China
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Dyslipidemias / blood
  • Dyslipidemias / diagnosis
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Simvastatin / adverse effects
  • Simvastatin / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biological Products
  • Biomarkers
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Lipids
  • red yeast rice
  • Simvastatin

Associated data