The combined use of Herba Cistanches and statin – a possible solution for statin-induced myotoxicity
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AbstractStatins are commonly prescribed western medicines for hypercholesterolemic patients to reduce cholesterol
production. Although statins are usually well tolerated, muscle toxicity is still a common clinical adverse effect in
which patients experience muscle pain, fatigue and weakness. Patients with severe symptoms such as elevated
creatine kinase (CK) levels are even advised to terminate statin therapy until CK is being normalized. Up till now,
there is no effective treatment for statin-induced muscle toxicity. In the past few years, our research team has been investigating the use of Chinese herbs to prevent statininduced muscle toxicity. Herba Cistanches (HC), also known as Rou Cong Rong, is the dried fleshy stem of Cistanche deserticola (family Orobanchaceae). The plant is generally prescribed for pain in loins and knees, and is commonly used in Chinese medicines for muscle problems. Recent pharmacological studies suggested that HC could reduce muscle damage and improve ATP storage in post-exercising rats, and enhanced mitochondrial ATP generation. We therefore hypothesized that HC aqueous extract (HCE) could prevent simvastatin-induced muscle toxicity.

The assessment was based on the ability of this herb-drug combination to reduce the side effects of simvastatin
(including elevated CK activity and reduced ATP production) using L6 rat skeletal muscle cells and Sprague Dawley rats. From the results, the present study reported for the first time that HCE could exert in vitro and in vivo protective effects on simvastatin-induced muscle toxicity. Furthermore, the effect of HCE alone or in combined use with statin in high-fat diet-induced hypercholesterolemia was also investigated in C57Bl/6 mice. Surprisingly, HCE could also reduce high-fat-induced hyperlipidemia and liver cholesterol when being used alone or in combination with simvastatin at a reduced dose, with such beneficial effects also being firstly demonstrated.

In conclusion, our study not only suggesting that HCE could be a possible solution for statin-induced myotoxicity,
but also implying that HCE might be of therapeutic value as a health supplement when used as adjuvant with
simvastatin in hypercholesterolemic patients.

1) Wat E, Ng CF, Koon CM, Wong ECW, Tomlinson B, Lau CBS (2016). The protective effect of Herba Cistanches
on statin-induced myotoxicity in vitro. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 190, 68-73.
All Author(s) ListLau CBS
Name of ConferenceThe 17th Annual Oxford International Conference on the Science of Botanicals
Start Date of Conference03/04/2017
End Date of Conference06/04/2017
Place of ConferenceMississippi
Country/Region of ConferenceUnited States of America
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-22-01 at 09:17