The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    More evidence that policosanol does not lower cholesterol

    Policosanol is available in the United States as a nutritional supplement with claims that it lowers cholesterol levels. It has been covered extensively on this blog.

    With the increase in combination therapy to control hypercholesterolemia, its now been tried and failed when used in combination with atorvastatin (Lipitor).

    Patients with LDL (bad) cholesterol blood levels between 140 to 189 mg/dL (optimum is less than 100 mg/dL) were assigned to 1 of 4 groups for 12 weeks of treatment.

    • Policosanol 20 mg daily
    • Lipitor 10 mg daily
    • Policosanol + Lipitor
    • Placebo

    Policosanol alone did not significantly change total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, or triglyceride levels compared to levels at the start of the study or values in placebo-treated patients.

    By comparison, Lipitor alone reduced total cholesterol 27% and LDL-cholesterol 35%.

    Adding policosanol to Lipitor failed to produce any further reduction in lipid levels compared to Lipitor alone.

    The bottom line?

    Policosanol is becoming a bad joke. More importantly, its lack of effectiveness is potentially dangerous when unsuspecting people use it as a “natural” cholesterol-lowering supplement.

    1/30/07 20:47 JR

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