Kidney Transplant Recipients Benefit from Cholesterol Drug

Published Online: Friday, August 1, 2003

Experts have discovered that kidney transplant patients who take statins could reduce their heart attack risk by a third. A total of 1788 kidney transplant patients completed an international study led by researchers at the National Hospital in Oslo, Norway. Approximately half of the participants were given fluvastatin, and the other half were given a placebo. After 5 years, there were 70 heart attacks in the statin group, compared with 104 in the control group. The researchers found that the risk of a fatal heart attack was 38% lower among the statin group, compared with those taking the placebo, whereas the risk of a nonlethal heart attack was 32% lower in those taking the statin. The findings were recently published on the Web site of The Lancet.

Kidney transplant patients are more at risk for premature cardiovascular disease; many of them already have heart disease at the time of their transplants. Also, immune-system?suppressing drugs may aggravate existing heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol.

"This new multicenter study shows yet another group that will benefit from statins," said Sir Charles George, medical director for the British Heart Foundation, which was not connected with the study. "This study shows that some kidney patients can . . . benefit from a statin and reduce their coronary heart disease, without dangerous side effects."

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