Statin Therapy Safe for Children
Children with inherited familial hypercholesterolemia may benefitfrom taking pravastatin. Familial hypercholesterolemia is theresult of a mutation in a gene that normally helps control low-densitylipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. The Finnish studyassessed the safety and effectiveness of pravastatin for 2 yearsin 30 participants (19 girls, 11 boys) aged 4 to 18 years with thecondition. The participants were put on a diet low in fat, saturatedfat, and cholesterol, supplemented with plant stanol or sterolesters, which prevent absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine.Of the participants, 17% had lipid deposits in their arteriesat the study's onset, and 27% had deposits at 12 months.
The findings, reported recently in the Journal of ClinicalEndocrinology and Metabolism, showed that participants whofollowed the low-fat diet experienced an 11% reduction in totalcholesterol and a 13% decrease in LDL levels. Also, treatmentwith pravastatin (10-20 mg daily) steadily lowered total cholesteroland LDL cholesterol. After 24 months, total cholesterol levelsfell by 26% and LDL dropped by 32%.