THE recent introduction of a unique class of cholesterol-lowering drugs offers new promise for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. These drugs are inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of cholesterol. Relatively low doses of these agents will reduce plasma cholesterol levels markedly, and in short-term studies, they have not been found to produce serious side effects. Thus, in 1987 the Food and Drug Administration approved one HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor — lovastatin. If reductase inhibitors prove to be free of long-term adverse effects, they will undoubtedly be used widely for treating hypercholesterolemia. This review will examine.
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