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Metabolism. 2008 Aug;57(8):1029-37. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.01.037.

Combination of simvastatin with berberine improves the lipid-lowering efficacy.

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Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicinal Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China.


We have identified berberine (BBR) as a novel cholesterol-lowering drug acting through stabilization of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) messenger RNA. Because the mechanism differs from that of statins, it is of great interest to examine the lipid-lowering activity of BBR in combination with statins. Our results showed that combination of BBR with simvastatin (SIMVA) increased the LDLR gene expression to a level significantly higher than that in monotherapies. In the treatment of food-induced hyperlipidemic rats, combination of BBR (90 mg/[kg d], oral) with SIMVA (6 mg/[kg d], oral) reduced serum LDL cholesterol by 46.2%, which was more effective than that of the SIMVA (28.3%) or BBR (26.8%) monotherapy (P < .01 for both) and similar to that of SIMVA at 12 mg/(kg d) (43.4%). More effective reduction of serum triglyceride was also achieved with the combination as compared with either monotherapy. Combination of BBR with SIMVA up-regulated the LDLR messenger RNA in rat livers to a level about 1.6-fold higher than the monotherapies did. Significant reduction of liver fat storage and improved liver histology were found after the combination therapy. The therapeutic efficacy of the combination was then evaluated in 63 hypercholesterolemic patients. As compared with monotherapies, the combination showed an improved lipid-lowering effect with 31.8% reduction of serum LDL cholesterol (P < .05 vs BBR alone, P < .01 vs SIMVA alone). Similar efficacies were observed in the reduction of total cholesterol as well as triglyceride in the patients. Our results display the rationale, effectiveness, and safety of the combination therapy for hyperlipidemia using BBR and SIMVA. It could be a new regimen for hypercholesterolemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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