DALLAS, TX, June 27, 2000 - Patients controlling their high cholesterol levels with statin drugs achieved further significant reductions in cholesterol by adding Benecol® spread to their diet, according to a multicenter study published in the July 1, 2000 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. Benecol contains plant stanol esters, a unique ingredient known to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract.
In the eight-week study, Benecol lowered blood levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, the "bad" cholesterol) by 17 percent and total cholesterol by 12 percent, compared with seven percent and five percent, respectively, for placebo (canola oil spread). The cholesterol-lowering effect of the stanol ester spread was evident by the second week of the study.
"The cholesterol reduction we saw with Benecol is important because it is generally recognized that every one percent decrease in cholesterol levels translates to a two to three percent decrease in coronary heart disease risk," said lead investigator Steven Blair, P.E.D., Director of Research at The Cooper Institute in Dallas.
"Our findings are good news for patients taking statin drugs, especially for those who have not reached their goal cholesterol level," he said. He noted a recent study showing 60 percent of patients treated with statin drugs alone had not reached their goal level of LDL-C , and that the degree of LDL reduction seen with Benecol in his study was more than can be expected with a doubling of a typical statin dose.
"This is one of the first major studies to prove that a food product enhances the beneficial effect of a drug," said William C. Roberts, MD, Medical Director of the Baylor Cardiovascular Institute in Dallas and Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Cardiology. He explained that stanols and statin drugs lower blood cholesterol levels through different mechanisms: statins decrease its synthesis in the live
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