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October 2004, Volume 34 Number 10 , p 28 - 28




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    Statin drugs can safely reduce cholesterol levels and reverse artery narrowing in children with familial hypercholesterolemia, according to a Dutch study. In the study, cholesterol levels dropped 24% in children ages 8 to 18 who took pravastatin for 2 years. Plus, carotid artery narrowing reversed course.

    The study involved 214 children with familial hypercholesterolemia, which is associated with myocardial infarction in early adulthood. Before taking statins, the children spent 3 months on a low-fat diet but still had average low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels of 239 mg/dl—more than 100 points higher than recommended. Children took either pravastatin or a placebo daily for 2 years. Researchers asked them to continue their low-fat diet and to exercise.

    After 2 years, children who took pravastatin had LDL levels that were on average 57 points less than at the start of the study. Ultrasound testing showed that ...

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