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J Intern Med. 1998 Nov;244(5):371-8.

Diet and pravastatin in moderate hypercholesterolaemia: a randomized trial in 215 middle-aged men free from cardiovascular disease.

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Julius Center for Patient Orientated Research, Utrecht University Medical School, The Netherlands.



To evaluate the effect of diet and drug intervention separately and combined in the treatment of primary hypercholesterolemia.


The study was conducted as a randomized, placebo-controlled factorial trial, double-blinded for drug intervention.


Subjects were recruited from a population-based cholesterol screening programme.


215 middle-aged men with primary hypercholesterolemia, free from cardiovascular disease.


Subjects were randomized to one of four intervention groups: (1) placebo and US National Cholesterol Education Program step 1 diet; (2) placebo and step 2 diet; (3) pravastatin 20 mg day-1 and step 1 diet; or (4) pravastatin 20 mg day-1 and step 2 diet. The intervention period was 6 months.


Efficacy measurements included: serum total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoproteins A1 and B. LDL cholesterol was calculated. For safety, values of ALAT, ASAT and CK were measured.


In the group receiving the step 1 diet only, lipid values were stable during the study period. In the placebo group on the step 2 diet, total cholesterol decreased by 6.3% (0.47 mmol L-1 (95% CI: 0.28, 0.67)) during 6 months. In the group receiving both pravastatin and the step 1 diet, there was a mean reduction in serum total cholesterol of 19.4% (1.46 mmol L-1 (95% CI: 1.20, 1.72)). In the group treated with pravastatin and the step 2 diet, the 6 months of data show a reduction of 20.7% (1.55 mmol L-1 (95% CI: 1.30, 1.80)).


If drug therapy with a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor is considered necessary, a step 2 diet has no additional lipid-lowering effect compared with a step 1 diet in men with primary hypercholesterolaemia. However, favourable 'side-effects' of a lipid-lowering diet, such as weight loss and lowering of blood pressure, may still warrant a low-fat diet in these cases.

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