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Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1996 Jan;29(1):48-62.

The safety evaluation of fluvastatin, an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, in beagle dogs and rhesus monkeys.

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Drug Safety Department, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corporation, East Hanover, New Jersey 07936-1080, USA.


Fluvastatin is a potent synthetic competitive inhibitor of beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway for hepatic cholesterol synthesis. The therapeutic indication is reduction of elevated total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Results from four toxicity studies in beagle dogs and one study in rhesus monkeys following oral administration of fluvastatin are reported. In two 26-week dog studies, doses were 0, 1, 8, or 48 mg/kg/day (reduced to 36 mg/kg/day in Week 7) and 0, 6, 24, or 36 mg/kg/day (reduced to 30 mg/kg/day in Week 2). In a 2-year dog study, doses were 0, 1, 8, or 16 mg/kg/day. Dose levels in the 26-week monkey study were 0, 0.6, 12, and 48 mg/kg/day (raised to 84 mg/kg/day in Week 17 and to 108 mg/kg/day in Week 22). In these studies, evaluations included clinical and physical examinations, body weight and food consumption, electrocardiography, ophthalmoscopy, hematology and clinical chemistries, urinalysis, blood drug concentration, and macroscopic and microscopic examinations of observed lesions and representative tissues. In the 26- and 52-week dog studies and the monkey study, lenticular biochemistry, the HMG-CoA reductase activity of liver microsomes, and serum lipid concentrations were investigated. The fourth dog study was a single-dose toxicokinetic study in which 48 mg/kg [3H]-fluvastatin was monitored for up to 2 weeks. Sampling was limited to ocular tissues for enzyme analysis. Doses of > or = 24 mg/kg/day were lethal in dogs. At lethal doses, ataxia, convulsions, fecal blood, multifocal congestion and hemorrhage, isolated foci of malacia in the medulla oblongata, and liver necrosis were observed. Reduced weight gain, emesis, cataracts, elevated liver enzymes, reduced cholesterol, and gallbladder inflammation with mucosal hyperplasia occurred at > or = 8 mg/kg/day. In contrast to other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, fluvastatin did not cause significant central nervous system hemorrhage or testicular changes in dogs. Monkeys tolerated exposure to fluvastatin well with only mild gallbladder changes observed. Reduced serum cholesterol and slight hyperplasia of the gallbladder mucosa occurred in the 12 and 48/84/108 mg/kg/day groups.

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