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OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy and safety of cholestyramine, an anion exchange resin, and pravastatin, a new hydrophilic specific inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, in the treatment of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia. DESIGN: Double blind, double dummy, placebo controlled study with three parallel groups. SETTING: Six specialist lipid clinics in the United Kingdom. PATIENTS: 128 patients aged 18-70 with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia diagnosed on strict biochemical and clinical findings. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Total plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, and lipoprotein subfractions and biochemical and haematological safety parameters. RESULTS: Pravastatin (40 mg/day) led to a 25% reduction in total plasma cholesterol concentration and a reduction in low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration of 30%. Cholestyramine (24 g/day) led to similar reductions in concentrations of total cholesterol (23%) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (31%). No consistent changes occurred in high density lipoprotein cholesterol values with either compound. Plasma triglyceride concentrations showed a small rise (18%) on resin therapy. No serious adverse drug reactions occurred during the study. CONCLUSIONS: Pravastatin seems to be a highly effective, well tolerated drug for severe hypercholesterolaemia. Patients chosen for this study were recruited on the basis that they could tolerate a full dose of cholestyramine, and in this situation cholestyramine was also highly effective in lowering plasma low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1335 - 1338


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Cholesterol, HDL, Cholesterol, LDL, Cholestyramine Resin, Double-Blind Method, Female, Humans, Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II, Male, Middle Aged, Pravastatin, Treatment Outcome, Triglycerides