Timing Statins Just Right

When is the best time to take a statin? The findings from several studies have been conflicting, although most statin manufacturers say that nighttime is ideal because most cholesterol is synthesized when dietary intake is low.

Researchers from the University of Sunderland in Tyne, Great Britain, randomly assigned 60 patients to take canadian simvastatin (Zocor medication, Merck) in the morning or evening for eight weeks. Patients who switched from evening to morning had statistically significantly higher total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol) levels. From the baseline evaluation to week eight, total cholesterol values rose by an average of 0.38 mmol/liter and LDL-cholesterol levels rose by an average of 0.25 mmol/liter.

In a study of drug atorvastatin (Generic Lipitor®, Pfizer), no significant difference in cholesterol concentrations was observed between evening and morning, but the researchers note that this drug’s longer elimination half-life might be the explanation.