The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Review: Red yeast rice to treat high cholesterol levels

    red_yeastRed yeast rice typically contains monacolins, including monacolin K — the naturally occurring statin known as lovastatin (Mevacor).

    First, the details.

    • Dr. Julie Sease from the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy, in Clinton, South Carolina reviewed the evidence.

    And, the results.

    • In several small studies monacolin K (3 to 15 mg/day) lowered total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    The bottom line?

    Dr. Sease concludes, “Patients taking red yeast rice should be monitored for changes in liver function and counseled about the possibility of myalgias (muscle pain) and drug interactions” typical of statins.

    She also notes that xuezhikang — an extract of red yeast rice marketed in China — has not been studied in the US. Therefore, she continues, it’s unclear if any of the results with monacolin apply to xuezhikang.

    True enough.

    But a review by researchers in Norway and China reported that xuezhikang lowered total cholesterol levels 19% to 44%. Furthermore, in 2 studies conducted in China (here and here), patients taking xuezhikang who had a previous heart attack had a “significantly decreased the risk of coronary heart disease death.”

    More on monacolins is here.

    12/28/09 21:43 JR

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