Chinese MedicineHeart Disease

Effect of Xuezhikang after a heart attack

Xuezhikang (XZK) is an extract from red yeast Chinese rice.

In this study by the Chinese Coronary Secondary Prevention Study Group, Chinese patients with heart disease taking XZK had fewer heart complications.

First, the details.

  • 4,870 patients with a history of heart attack were randomly assigned to two 300 mg capsules of XZK or matching placebo over about 4.5 years.
  • 56% had high blood pressure, and 13% had diabetes.
  • Average lipid values
    • LDL (bad) cholesterol was 129 mg/dL (normal 62 – 130)
    • HDL (good) cholesterol was 46 mg/dL (normal 35 – 135)
    • Triglycerides 163.9 mg/dL (0 – 200)
  • The primary end point was a major coronary event — nonfatal heart attack and death from coronary heart disease (narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart).

And, the results.

  • Frequencies of the major coronary events were 10% with placebo group and 6% in the XZK-treated group
  • Treatment with XZK also significantly decreased cardiovascular and total mortality by 30% and 33%, respectively.
  • The need for coronary revascularization decreased by 1/3.
  • LDL and total cholesterol went down, and HDL cholesterol went up.
  • No significant side effects were reported.

The bottom line?
XZK is an extract of Chinese red yeast rice. Lovastatin (Mevacor), the first statin approved in the United States, occurs naturally in certain forms of red yeast rice that are made when the rice is cultivated with the mold Monascus purpureus.

The results here are similar to what might be found in a lovastatin study. However, the authors observed that “outcomes noted in this trial are greater than those reported with the use of statins in mainly Caucasian patients.”

Do Asian patients respond differently than Caucasians?

There’s more to learn about XZK and the other components in XZK.

7/21/08 21:34 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.