More evidence that policosanol does not lower cholesterol

Policosanol is available in the United States as a nutritional supplement with claims that it lowers cholesterol levels. It has been covered extensively on this blog.

With the increase in combination therapy to control hypercholesterolemia, its now been tried and failed when used in combination with atorvastatin (Lipitor).

Patients with LDL (bad) cholesterol blood levels between 140 to 189 mg/dL (optimum is less than 100 mg/dL) were assigned to 1 of 4 groups for 12 weeks of treatment.

  • Policosanol 20 mg daily
  • Lipitor 10 mg daily
  • Policosanol + Lipitor
  • Placebo

Policosanol alone did not significantly change total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, or triglyceride levels compared to levels at the start of the study or values in placebo-treated patients.

By comparison, Lipitor alone reduced total cholesterol 27% and LDL-cholesterol 35%.

Adding policosanol to Lipitor failed to produce any further reduction in lipid levels compared to Lipitor alone.

The bottom line?

Policosanol is becoming a bad joke. More importantly, its lack of effectiveness is potentially dangerous when unsuspecting people use it as a “natural” cholesterol-lowering supplement.

1/30/07 20:47 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.