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Lipitor Shown to Reduce Blood Viscosity, Part II

Study Shows Atorvastatin Reduced Blood Viscosity As Much As 16%

Research published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease demonstrates that low dose administration of atorvastatin (Lipitor®) (10 mg/day) reduced diastolic blood viscosity by 16% in patients with hypertriglyceridemia.

Hypertriglyceridemia is a relatively common condition affecting approximately 35% of men and 25% of women over the age of 20 in the US. The National Cholesterol Education Program currently defines it as occurring in those individuals having levels greater than 150 mg/dL. The condition can be worsened by uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, obesity, and sedentary habits, and has been shown to be a risk factor for coronary artery disease in both epidemiologic and interventional studies.

The published study focused on 19 patients (five women and 14 men aged 49+/-14 years; body mass index 27.4+/-4.5 Kg/m2) having triglycerides >200 mg/dL who were insufficiently responsive to dietary therapy. All patients received 10 mg of atorvastatin daily at bedtime for four weeks.

Atorvastatin is one of a number of cholesterol (mainly LDL) lowering drugs called statins. Lowering the cholesterol concentration in the blood works to reduce blood viscosity by individually altering its major determinants, namely plasma viscosity, red cell rigidity and aggregation. The atorvastatin at the administered dose reduced total cholesterol levels and LDL levels 25% and 24%, respectively, which is likely responsible for the 16% reduction in diastolic blood viscosity. HDL levels were negatively associated with blood viscosity and positively correlated with erythrocyte deformability. These findings are consistent with other published information indicating that increasing HDL and decreasing LDL levels in the blood may lead to a reduced risk of coronary end points.

The authors wrote: “Atorvastatin (10 mg/day) not only reduced the plasma concentrations of atherogenic lipoproteins but also improved the LDL-subtype profile and reduced plasma and blood viscosity in patients with hypertriglyceridemia.”


K. Empen, et al. Effect of atorvastatin on lipid parameters, LDL subtype distribution, hemorrheological parameters and adhesion molecule concentrations in patients with hypertriglyceridemia. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, (2003) 13: 87-92.


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