RED YEAST RICE
ANCHOR LEAD: PEOPLE WHO CHOSE THE SUPPLEMENT RED YEAST RICE TO TREAT THEIR CHOLESTEROL STILL NEED MONITORING, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Red yeast rice supplements are effective in reducing cholesterol in many people who take them, a recent Annals of Internal Medicine study reiterates. But Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says those taking the supplement instead of a statin still need to be on the watch for possible side effects.
MILLER: I would treat this herbal supplement as though a patient were on a statin. And I would monitor liver function tests on a periodic basis. A lot of patients cite cost as a reason and they say, you know I would like to take this because it’s cheaper and I would like to remind our audience that generic lovastatin is now on the $4 list, whereas the cost of these supplements is around $20 to $40 a month so we can’t really use cost as a reason. :26
Miller also warns that some supplements are not standardized so consumers need to be cautious in their choices. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.