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Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):636-45.

An ezetimibe-policosanol combination has the potential to be an OTC agent that could dramatically lower LDL cholesterol without side effects.

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  • 1NutriGuard Research, 1051 Hermes Avenue, Encinitas, CA 92024, USA.


Although many risk factors influence atherogenesis, LDL appears to play a primary role in this process. In prospective epidemiology, coronary risk increases as LDL cholesterol increases, throughout the entire range of concentrations encountered in healthy humans. Coronary risk is minimal in individuals and populations whose serum cholesterol remains quite low throughout life. Thus, practical strategies for achieving large reductions of LDL cholesterol in the general population could have a dramatic impact on coronary mortality rates. Dietary measures have limited potential in this regard; modest restriction of saturated fat has a rather trivial effect on LDL cholesterol, and the very-low-fat quasi-vegan diets that do have a notable effect in this regard currently have little appeal to the majority of the population. With respect to pharmacotherapy, most available hypolipidemic agents with reasonably potent activity entail side effects or compliance difficulties that would render their use too expensive or impractical for population-wide application. However, two agents may have great potential in this regard: policosanol and ezetimibe. The former, a mixture of long-chain alcohols derived from sugar cane wax, has effects on serum lipids comparable to those of statins, and may work by down-regulating expression of HMG-CoA reductase. However, unlike statins, policosanol appears to be devoid of side effects or risks. Ezetimibe is a newly approved drug that is a potent and highly specific inhibitor of an intestinal sterol permease; in daily doses as low as 10 mg, it suppresses intestinal absorption of cholesterol and decreases serum LDL cholesterol by approximately 18%. No side effects have been seen in clinical doses, and the fact that its hypolipidemic activity is additive to that of statins has generated considerable interest. Both policosanol and ezetimibe can be administered once daily. Future studies should determine whether policosanol, like statins, interacts additively with ezetimibe. If so, it may be feasible someday to produce a tablet combining policosanol and ezetimibe that could reduce LDL cholesterol by about 40%, without side effects, and that could be recommended to virtually anyone whose LDL cholesterol levels were not already ideal.

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