Cholesterol-Busting Drugs Help After Kidney Transplant

Statins may help shield organ recipients from heart attack

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SATURDAY, Nov. 12, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Giving cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to kidney transplant recipients may reduce their increased risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular events, a Norwegian study found.

"As patients continue to live longer after kidney transplantation, there is an increased need to prevent some of the long-term complications that can develop. One major risk is premature cardiovascular disease, related to high cholesterol levels developing after transplantation," study leader Dr. Hallvard Holdaas of National Hospital in Oslo, said in a prepared statement.

The study included more than 2,100 kidney transplant recipients divided into two groups. One group received the cholesterol-lowering drug fluvastatin for up to eight years, while the other group received a placebo. All the patients in the study had good long-term functioning of their transplanted kidney.

In the group taking fluvastatin, the average level of so-called "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol decreased from 159 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) to 98 mg/dL. These patients also achieved a 21 percent reduction in their risk of heart attack and other major cardiovascular events, while their combined risk of death from cardiac causes decreased by 29 percent, compared to patients taking the placebo.

Both groups had a similar overall risk of death from all causes and similar rates of long-term survival of the transplanted kidney.

The study was presented Nov. 11 at the American Society of Nephrology annual meeting, in Philadelphia.

More information

The U.S. National Kidney Foundation has more about kidney transplant.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Nov. 11, 2005

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