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Mini-review: medication safety of red yeast rice products

Authors Farkouh A, Baumgärtel C

Received 22 January 2019

Accepted for publication 21 March 2019

Published 30 April 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 167—171


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

André Farkouh,1 Christoph Baumgärtel2

1Division of Clinical Pharmacy and Diagnostics, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Vienna, Vienna, A-1090, Austria; 2AGES Austrian Medicines and Medical Devices Agency and Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Health Care, A-1200 Vienna, Austria

Abstract: High lipid levels in the blood together with high blood pressure and diabetes are among the highest risks for coronary heart disease. In particular, elevated cholesterol levels promote the progression of atherosclerosis. Red yeast rice, also called red fermented rice or red mold rice, is used as a dietary supplement to lower cholesterol levels. It contains varying amounts of natural monacolin K, which is a structural homolog to lovastatin, and shows hypocholesterolemic properties comparable to synthetic statins. Despite being portrayed as a natural alternative, the potential of red yeast rice for side effects and interactions is comparable to statin drugs. Consumers need to be made aware of the varying monacolin K content in red yeast rice products and the insufficient long-term safety data regarding the potential risks of red yeast rice.

Keywords: red yeast rice, monacolin K, p-glycoprotein, pharmacokinetics

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