Fluvastatin for lowering lipids

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Mar 6;3(3):CD012282. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012282.pub2.


Background: Fluvastatin is thought to be the least potent statin on the market, however, the dose-related magnitude of effect of fluvastatin on blood lipids is not known.

Objectives: Primary objectiveTo quantify the effects of various doses of fluvastatin on blood total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol), high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol), and triglycerides in participants with and without evidence of cardiovascular disease.Secondary objectivesTo quantify the variability of the effect of various doses of fluvastatin.To quantify withdrawals due to adverse effects (WDAEs) in randomised placebo-controlled trials.

Search methods: The Cochrane Hypertension Information Specialist searched the following databases for randomised controlled trials up to February 2017: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (2017, Issue 1), MEDLINE (1946 to February Week 2 2017), MEDLINE In-Process, MEDLINE Epub Ahead of Print, Embase (1974 to February Week 2 2017), the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, CDSR, DARE, Epistemonikos and ClinicalTrials.gov. We also contacted authors of relevant papers regarding further published and unpublished work. No language restrictions were applied.

Selection criteria: Randomised placebo-controlled and uncontrolled before and after trials evaluating the dose response of different fixed doses of fluvastatin on blood lipids over a duration of three to 12 weeks in participants of any age with and without evidence of cardiovascular disease.

Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed eligibility criteria for studies to be included, and extracted data. We entered data from placebo-controlled and uncontrolled before and after trials into Review Manager 5 as continuous and generic inverse variance data, respectively. WDAEs information was collected from the placebo-controlled trials. We assessed all trials using the 'Risk of bias' tool under the categories of sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding, incomplete outcome data, selective reporting, and other potential biases.

Main results: One-hundred and forty-five trials (36 placebo controlled and 109 before and after) evaluated the dose-related efficacy of fluvastatin in 18,846 participants. The participants were of any age with and without evidence of cardiovascular disease, and fluvastatin effects were studied within a treatment period of three to 12 weeks. Log dose-response data over doses of 2.5 mg to 80 mg revealed strong linear dose-related effects on blood total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and a weak linear dose-related effect on blood triglycerides. There was no dose-related effect of fluvastatin on blood HDL cholesterol. Fluvastatin 10 mg/day to 80 mg/day reduced LDL cholesterol by 15% to 33%, total cholesterol by 11% to 25% and triglycerides by 3% to 17.5%. For every two-fold dose increase there was a 6.0% (95% CI 5.4 to 6.6) decrease in blood LDL cholesterol, a 4.2% (95% CI 3.7 to 4.8) decrease in blood total cholesterol and a 4.2% (95% CI 2.0 to 6.3) decrease in blood triglycerides. The quality of evidence for these effects was judged to be high. When compared to atorvastatin and rosuvastatin, fluvastatin was about 12-fold less potent than atorvastatin and 46-fold less potent than rosuvastatin at reducing LDL cholesterol. Very low quality of evidence showed no difference in WDAEs between fluvastatin and placebo in 16 of 36 of these short-term trials (risk ratio 1.52 (95% CI 0.94 to 2.45).

Authors' conclusions: Fluvastatin lowers blood total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride in a dose-dependent linear fashion. Based on the effect on LDL cholesterol, fluvastatin is 12-fold less potent than atorvastatin and 46-fold less potent than rosuvastatin. This review did not provide a good estimate of the incidence of harms associated with fluvastatin because of the short duration of the trials and the lack of reporting of adverse effects in 56% of the placebo-controlled trials.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Controlled Before-After Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Fluvastatin
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Indoles / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Indoles
  • Triglycerides
  • Fluvastatin
  • Cholesterol