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Am Heart J. 2001 Aug;142(2):E2.

The effect of pravastatin and atorvastatin on coenzyme Q10.

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College of Pharmacy, the General Clinical Research Center, the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, and the University of Michigan Health Systems, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1065, USA.



Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant and plays an important role in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. Studies suggest that 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors reduce CoQ10 levels; however, no studies have directly compared HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in a randomized crossover fashion.


Twelve healthy volunteers received either 20 mg pravastatin (P) or 10 mg atorvastatin (A) for 4 weeks in a randomized crossover fashion. There was a 4- to 8-week washout period between the 2 phases. CoQ10 levels and a lipid profile were obtained.


There was no difference in CoQ10 levels from baseline to post-drug therapy for either P or A (0.61 +/- 0.14 vs 0.62 +/- 0.2 microg/mL and 0.65 +/- 0.22 vs 0.6 +/- 0.12 microg/mL, respectively; P >.05). There was a significant difference in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels from baseline to post-drug therapy for both P and A (97 +/- 21 vs 66 +/- 19 mg/dL and 102 +/- 21 vs 52 +/- 14 mg/dL, respectively; P <.01). There was no significant correlation between LDL and CoQ10.


P and A did not decrease CoQ10 despite a significant decrease in LDL levels. These findings suggest that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors do not significantly decrease the synthesis of circulating CoQ10 in healthy subjects. Routine supplementation of CoQ10 may not be necessary when HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor therapy is administered.

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