Statins decrease cardiovascular events mainly by lowering cholesterol but anti-inflammatory effects also play a role. The effects of the cholesterol absorption inhibitor ezetimibe on markers of inflammation remain unclear. We performed an exploratory post-hoc analysis whether these drugs influence the pro-inflammatory markers interleukin-6 and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in subjects with very-low cardiovascular risk. Single center, randomized, parallel 3-group study in 72 healthy men without apparent cardiovascular disease (age 32 ± 9 years, BMI 25.7 ± 3.2 kg/m(2)). Each group of 24 subjects received a 14-day treatment with either simvastatin 40 mg, ezetimibe 10 mg, or their combination. Baseline IL-6 and hsCRP concentrations in the total cohort were 0.72 ± 0.57 ng/l and 0.40 ± 0.65 mg/l, respectively, with no differences between the 3 groups. Median changes (interquartile range) in IL-6 and hsCRP concentrations were -22% (-43 to 0%) and -30% (-44 to +19%) after simvastatin, -5% (-36 to +30%) and +9% (-22 to +107%) after ezetimibe, and +15% (-15 to +86%) and +1 (-30 to +49%) after the combination. Using a generalized linear model, the multivariable adjusted overall P-values for these changes were 0.008 (IL-6) and 0.1 (hsCRP). Simvastatin decreases the pro-inflammatory markers IL-6 and almost significantly hsCRP while ezetimibe monotherapy or the combination with simvastatin has no effect.
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