There is little evidence to show that strict dietary modification alone confers any significant impact on cardiac events in primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. Given the efficacy of the statins, the need for strict dietary modification in patients on statin therapy has been questioned. This study was performed to assess 1) the added benefit on serum lipid levels of a strict low-fat dietary regimen in patients with hypercholesterolaemia already treated with simvastatin; 2) the efficacy of simvastatin on the lipid profile of our sample Asian population; and 3) the tolerability and side-effect profile of simvastatin. This study was a prospective evaluation of 60 patients with hypercholesterolaemia treated with simvastatin who were subjected to either a normal diet or a dietitian guided low-fat diet. Assessment of the effects on serum lipid levels, side-effects, biochemical and haematological markers were performed. After 24 weeks of treatment, a strict dietitian guided low-fat diet conferred no additional benefit over and above what was achieved by simvastatin alone. Furthermore, a higher dose of simvastatin was needed in the dietitian guided diet group to achieve the target LDL-cholesterol level. Simvastatin resulted in a significant positive alteration of lipid profiles in all patients. The drug was well tolerated, with no significant change in either haematological or biochemical indices. Simvastatin is a highly effective cholesterol-lowering drug with a beneficial effect on the entire lipid spectrum in a cross-section of Asian patients, and is well tolerated. A dietitian guided dietary approach confers no additional advantage once statin therapy has been initiated.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.