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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Is Red Yeast Rice More Effective Than Lipitor In Managing Cholesterol Levels?

I seemed to have some adverse reaction to Lipitor 10 mg and stopped it. My doctor says while on it, my blood levels were incredibly good, and I should go back on. I prefer over-the-counter red yeast rice 640 mg/day, which also kept my cholesteraol at good numbers. What do you think Lipitor vs red yeast rice?
Tue, 29 May 2018
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Dietitian & Nutritionist 's  Response
Hello and Welcome to Ask A Doctor:
I understand that you are thinking that red rice yeast might be a safer option than Lipitor.

My advice to you is not to take Red Rice Yeast and this is why. If the product you get is effective, it means it contains a substance very similar to lovastatin and that is why it is effective. In the US it is illegal for Red Rice Yeast to contain this substance but many still do. If the substance is not in the product it will not lower the cholesterol. If it is in the product you will more than likely react in a similar fashion as to the statin drugs you have already been on since it is the statin in the Red Rice Yeast which lowers the cholesterol. Then there is the issue of getting a standardized dose of the effective substance in the product you are buying since supplements aren't regulated.

it is best that your doctor try an alternative method of treatment would be my advice to you. You could try diet, exercise and nicotinic acid along with a water soluble fiber supplement.

Warmly,

Kathy J. Shattler, MS, RDN
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Is Red Yeast Rice More Effective Than Lipitor In Managing Cholesterol Levels?

Hello and Welcome to Ask A Doctor: I understand that you are thinking that red rice yeast might be a safer option than Lipitor. My advice to you is not to take Red Rice Yeast and this is why. If the product you get is effective, it means it contains a substance very similar to lovastatin and that is why it is effective. In the US it is illegal for Red Rice Yeast to contain this substance but many still do. If the substance is not in the product it will not lower the cholesterol. If it is in the product you will more than likely react in a similar fashion as to the statin drugs you have already been on since it is the statin in the Red Rice Yeast which lowers the cholesterol. Then there is the issue of getting a standardized dose of the effective substance in the product you are buying since supplements aren t regulated. it is best that your doctor try an alternative method of treatment would be my advice to you. You could try diet, exercise and nicotinic acid along with a water soluble fiber supplement. Warmly, Kathy J. Shattler, MS, RDN