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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD004289.

HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) for dialysis patients.

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  • 1Internal Medicine, Unity Health System, 1555 Long Pond Rd, Rochester, NY 14626, USA. SANKARDASS@HOTMAIL.COM



Cardiovascular disease accounts for more than half the number of deaths among dialysis patients. The role of HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) in the treatment of hyperlipidemia in dialysis patients is unclear and their safety has not been established.


To assess the benefits and harms of statins in peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis patients (HD).


We searched MEDLINE (1966-July 2003), EMBASE (1980-July 2003), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled trials (CENTRAL, in The Cochrane Library - issue 2, 2004), the Cochrane Renal Group's specialized register (April 2004) and handsearched reference lists of textbooks, articles and scientific proceedings.


Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs comparing statins with placebo, no treatment or other statins in dialysis patients.


Two reviewers independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Statistical analyses were performed using the random effects model after testing for heterogeneity. The results were expressed as weighted mean difference (WMD) for continuous outcomes and relative risk (RR) for dichotomous outcomes with 95% confidence intervals (CI).


Six studies involving 357 participants were identified - three studies had both continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and HD participants, two included only HD participants and one study only included CAPD participants. Studies were all of short duration and morbidity and mortality were not assessed. Average total cholesterol decreased significantly with statins compared to placebo in all dialysis patients (WMD -53.70 mg/dL (1.40 mmol/L), 95% CI -66.95 to -40.54). Similarly, average LDL cholesterol decreased significantly with statins in comparison to placebo in all patients (WMD -55.40 mg/dL (1.44 mmol/L), 95% CI -69.90 to -40.90) as did average triglycerides (-33.72 mg/dL (0.37 mmol/L), 95% CI -54.16 to -13.28). There was a significant increase in average HDL cholesterol levels (WMD 4.84 mg/dL (0.13 mmol/L), 95% CI 0.28 to 9.40) with statins compared to placebo in HD but not in CAPD patients. One trial compared statins to the hypolidemic agent probucol and found no significant differences between the two treatment groups.


Statins used for 12 weeks decreased cholesterol levels in dialysis patients similar to the general population. Included studies were of short duration and therefore the efficacy of statins in decreasing the cardiovascular, cerebrovascular events and mortality rates is still unclear. The safety of statins needs to be addressed in the current ongoing clinical trials.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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