Coronary artery disease strikes early and may prove particularly severe in persons of African-American descent. Therefore, we studied the lipid-lowering efficacy and safety of pravastatin sodium (20 mg/d), a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, in 245 African-American patients with primary hypercholesterolemia.
After 4 weeks on an American Heart Association phase I low-fat diet, patients were randomized in a double-blind manner to either pravastatin or placebo in a 3:1 ratio.
After 12 weeks of pravastatin treatment, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels declined 25.8%, total cholesterol levels 20.3%, and triglyceride levels 6.2%, while high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels remained essentially unchanged. Overall, 72% of pravastatin-treated patients achieved reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level in excess of 20%, and 44% attained declines in excess of 30% (both P<.01 vs placebo). Pravastatin was generally well tolerated in this population, with one patient (0.5%) exhibiting a reversible myopathy with creatine kinase elevations to 10 times the upper limit of normal. No substantial elevations of aminotransferase levels of two to three times the upper limit of normal occurred in either the pravastatin or the placebo group. Drug compliance was high, exceeding 90%.
Pravastatin appears to be an effective and safe lipid-lowering agent and is the first 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor to be studied extensively in this underrepresented population.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1900-1906)