Drug that lowers cholesterol spoils sleep

New York(IANS) : A drug that helps lower cholesterol may have an adverse effect on patients’ sleep patterns, a new study has found.

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego who compared two types of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins — simvastatin and pravastatin — found that the former caused disruptions in sleep patterns.

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Findings of the study — the largest of its kind — have been presented at the ongoing scientific sessions of the American Heart Association.

“The findings are significant because sleep problems can affect quality of life and may have adverse health consequences, such as promoting weight gain and insulin resistance,” said Beatrice Golomb, lead author of the study.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers compared two types of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins — simvastatin, which is soluble in fats, and pravastatin, which is soluble in water.

As simvastatin is fat-soluble, it easily penetrates cell membranes and enters the brain. The brain controls sleep, and many of the brain’s nerve cells are wrapped in a fatty insulating sheath called myelin.

“The results showed that … significantly greater number of individuals taking simvastatin reported sleep problems than those taking either (water soluble) pravastatin or the placebo,” Golomb said.

“On average, the fat-soluble statin had a greater adverse effect on sleep quality.”

In past studies and case reports, some people on statins reported having insomnia or nightmares.

“One of these studies did report a significant difference between pravastatin and simvastatin. But without more and bigger studies, an effect was not considered to be established.”