Statins for kidney disease patients: Protection for the heart but no effects on kidneys

Lowering LDL cholesterol through statin-based treatment did not slow kidney disease progression within five years in a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The results indicate that while LDL cholesterol-lowering therapy is safe in kidney disease patients and can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, it does not protect their kidney health as well.

Research has shown that lowering LDL cholesterol with statins can reduce patients' risk of experiencing heart attacks and strokes, but it's not clear whether it can also reduce the risk of , which requires dialysis or , in these patients.

To investigate, researchers conducted the Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP), which included 6,245 nondialysis patients who were randomized to receive a placebo or cholesterol-lowering treatment with simvastatin (a statin) plus ezetimibe (a drug that inhibits the intestinal absorption of cholesterol).

Among the major findings after 5 years of follow-up:

  • Simvastatin plus ezetimibe lowered LDL cholesterol by an average of approximately 1 mmol/L (39 mg/dL) compared with placebo.
  • Simvastatin plus ezetimibe did not significantly reduce the need for dialysis or transplantation (33.9% cases vs 34.6% cases in the placebo group).
  • Treatment had no effect on the speed at which kidney function declined over time.

"The SHARP trial was the largest ever randomized trial in chronic kidney disease and previously showed that simvastatin plus ezetimibe did reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, vascular stenting, or bypass surgery, but it did not affect the risk of end-stage renal disease," said first author Richard Haynes, MRCP (University of Oxford, UK). "Statins had no effect—neither good nor bad—on kidney function."

More information: The article, entitled "Effects of Lowering LDL Cholesterol on Progression of Kidney Disease," will appear online at jasn.asnjournals.org/ on May 1, 2014.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cholesterol drug shows benefits for kidney patients

Nov 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A combination drug that lowers levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the blood can benefit people with chronic kidney disease and is safe, a study led by the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Oxford University has ...

Heart drug 'safe for kidney patients'

Jun 13, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- The full results of a trial show that people with chronic kidney disease can reduce their heart risk by taking a combination drug that lowers levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Recommended for you

At one month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases

2 hours ago

The U.S. program that requires weeks of monitoring for travelers from African countries with Ebola reaches the one-month mark Thursday. And so far, no cases of the disease have turned up.

EU calls for 5,000 doctors to fight Ebola

2 hours ago

The European Commission called for 5,000 doctors to be sent from EU states to combat west Africa's Ebola epidemic, a European source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Guinea, hit by Ebola, reports only one cholera case

2 hours ago

The health workers rode on canoes and rickety boats to deliver cholera vaccines to remote islands in Guinea. Months later, the country has recorded only one confirmed cholera case this year, down from thousands.

Sierra Leone official: Ebola worst could be over

2 hours ago

The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, which has been surging in recent days, may have reached its peak and be on the verge of slowing down, Sierra Leone's information minister said Wednesday.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.