Monacolin and atorvastatin in cardiovascular prevention – an attempt at positioning
Department of Internal Diseases and Cardiological Rehabilitation, Medical University in Lodz, Łódź, Poland
Correspondence: Marcin Barylski, MD, PhD, FESC, Department of Internal Diseases and Cardiological Rehabilitation, Medical University in Lodz, Hallera Square 1, 90-647 Łódź, Poland, e-mail:
Pediatr Med Rodz 2017, 13 (1), p. 79–92
DOI: 10.15557/PiMR.2017.0008

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of premature death worldwide. Dyslipidemia, in turn, is the most common modifiable cardiovascular risk factor. According to NATPOL 2011, hypercholesterolaemia defined as total cholesterol of at least 190 mg/dL is diagnosed in 61% of adult Poles. Non-pharmacological management, i.e. lifestyle modification, including, in the first place, physical activity and a proper diet, is the basis of intervention aimed to normalise cholesterol levels. Statins are the most important and the most common class of agents in the treatment of lipid disorders and there is strong and clear evidence supporting their effects on lipid reduction and prognosis improvement. These agents are well tolerated and safe, and their efficacy in primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention was well-documented in clinical trials. The use of a dietary supplement in the form of monacolin K contained in the red yeast rice, whose efficacy in reducing cholesterol levels has been demonstrated in a number of randomised clinical trials, may be an intermediate stage between non-pharmacological treatment and statin therapy. In everyday practice, patients who do not qualify for aggressive lipidlowering therapy, but show no desired effects when on behavioural therapy, are often encountered. It seems that monacolin K therapy may be used in such cases. However, it should be strongly emphasised that monacolin K may be only an adjuvant, and not a substitute for behavioural therapy. This paper presents the potential place of monacolin K and atorvastatin in modern cardiovascular pharmacotherapy, attempting to define target patient populations for both these substances.

Keywords: monacolin, atorvastatin, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular diseases