Printer Friendly

NEW STUDY SHOWS VARIABLE RESULTS IN LOWERING HIGH CHOLESTEROL WITH DIET ALONE

 WEST POINT, Pa., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study on lowering high cholesterol with low-fat diet showed variable results, suggesting that while some people can lower their high blood cholesterol effectively with diet alone, many cannot, according to the lead researcher.
 Study results are published in today's New England Journal of Medicine.
 A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is the recommended first line of defense against high cholesterol. The study evaluated the effectiveness of such a strict diet -- alone and in combination with the cholesterol- lowering drug Mevacor(R) (lovastatin) -- in 97 patients with high LDL levels treated at five outpatient clinics. The results showed that patients on the diet alone reduced their LDL cholesterol levels by an average of only five percent.
 "The average response to diet in this study was less than may have been predicted; however, many patients achieved LDL reductions of 10 to 15 percent on the diet," said Donald B. Hunninghake, M.D., director of the Heart Disease Prevention Clinic in Minneapolis.
 "It's mandatory for doctors to monitor patient progress on any cholesterol-lowering diet carefully. When patients with high cholesterol don't reach their cholesterol goals after six months on diet, the addition of a cholesterol-lowering medication should be considered, depending on their LDL cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease," Dr. Hunninghake said.
 (Mevacor is the Merck registered trademark for lovastatin.)
 The study was designed to test the National Cholesterol Education Program's strict "Step-Two" diet in outpatients; the diet is recommended for patients who fail to respond adequately to less intensive diet ("Step-One"). The Step-Two diet calls for less than 30 percent of total calories from fat and less than seven percent from saturated fat. In contrast, the average American consumes about 36 to 37 percent total calories from fat, with more than a third coming from saturated fat.
 All the patients in the study had elevated LDL levels between 160 and 200 mg/dL. Before entering the study, more than 60 percent of the patients had received previous diet treatment for their high cholesterol.
 In the study, diet alone lowered cholesterol an average of only five percent. Mevacor alone lowered LDL cholesterol an average of 27 percent when taken with a high-fat diet comparable to the usual American diet. Mevacor and Step-Two diet together were additive, lowering LDL an average of 32 percent.
 While the study also showed that the low-fat diet lowered levels of HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol believed to clear some plaque from artery walls) an average of six percent, the clinical significance of the drop is unclear. Mevacor, taken with the low-fat diet, caused levels of HDL to increase an average of four percent.
 "Since diet remains an essential element in treatment for most patients with high cholesterol, we need more research to find ways to optimize diet therapy, including different types of diet," said Elaine Feldman, M.D., professor emeritus of medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, and a researcher on the study team.
 "Because cholesterol levels are influenced by genes, as well as diet, many people with a genetic tendency to elevated cholesterol may not achieve target cholesterol goals with diet alone, no matter how strict the diet.
 "It would be helpful if we were able to preselect people who would respond to diet, but currently we can only give diet an adequate trial prior to considering drug therapy," Dr. Feldman said.
 The study tracked cholesterol levels in patients who received each of the following for nine weeks: Step-Two diet with placebo or with Mevacor, and high-fat diet with placebo or with Mevacor. The high-fat diet contained 41 percent total fat and 15 percent saturated fat.
 The drug used in the study, Mevacor, is the first of a class of drugs called HMG-reductase inhibitors. The drug is indicated -- along with continuing a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet -- for the reduction of elevated total and LDL-cholesterol levels in selected patients whose response to diet and other lifestyle treatments alone is inadequate. Mevacor should not be prescribed to patients with active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations of certain liver enzymes, to women who are pregnant or nursing, or to women of childbearing age unless highly unlikely to conceive.
 Merck is a worldwide, research-intensive health products company that discovers, develops, produces and markets human and animal health products and specialty chemicals.
 /delval/
 -0- 4/28/93/1800
 /Editors: Prescribing information for Mevacor has been sent under separate cover to media and is also available from Merck by FAX by calling Gary Bruell at 215-652-7485./
 /CONTACT: Gary M. Bruell of Merck, 215-652-6681/
 (MRK)


CO: Merck & Co., Inc. ST: Pennsylvania, Minnesota IN: MTC SU:

CC -- PH032 -- 2161 04/28/93 14:41 EDT
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1993
Words:779
Previous Article:DOSKOCIL RESTRUCTURES DEBT; ISSUES $110 MILLION IN NOTES AND ENTERS INTO NEW $40 MILLION REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY
Next Article:WEIGHT WATCHERS RESPONDS TO NUTRI/SYSTEM CLOSINGS
Topics:


Related Articles
ATHEROSCLEROSIS REGRESSION: FOR FIRST TIME, RECOGNIZED IN MEDICATION LABELING
AMERICANS WITH HEART DISEASE TRYING TO CONTROL HIGH CHOLESTEROL, BUT OVERLOOKING KEY STEPS
UPJOHN TO MARKET CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING TABLET
MERCK: RESULTS ADD EVIDENCE TO CASE FOR CHOLESTEROL LOWERING IN PEOPLE WITH HEART DISEASE
Welchol(TM) (Colesevelam HCl) Now Available for Treatment Of Elevated Cholesterol.
WelChol(R), in Combination With Lipitor(R), Cuts LDL Cholesterol Levels by 48%.
In Lowering Cholesterol, New Research Shows Dietary Approach Including Almonds Works as Well as Statins.
New 'Portfolio' Study Shows 35% Drop in LDL Cholesterol in 2 Weeks.
New Soy Diets Found to Lower Cholesterol, Are as Effective as Statin Drug Intake.
Orange Juice Fortified With Plant Sterols Found to Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol in Healthy Volunteers.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters