First for Cholesterol Link to Kidney Disease

The world’s largest kidney disease trial of over 9,400 volunteers aged 40 or over with chronic kidney disease, 2,281 of whom were recruited from 64 sites in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand, has shown that the combination of the cholesterol-lowering drugs ezetimibe and simvastatin could reduce by a quarter all heart attacks, strokes and operations to open blocked arteries in people with chronic kidney disease.

The publication of the results, announced at the American Society of Nephrology, is the first to show definitive evidence of the benefits of cholesterol-lowering in combating the exceptionally high rates of cardiovascular diseases suffered by people with chronic kidney disease.

Professor Alan Cass, Senior Director, George Institute Renal and Metabolic Division, and the Australian National Coordinator of the SHARP study said, “This trial is a real breakthrough for the one-in-nine Australians over the age of 25 who have some chronic kidney disease. This trial has shown for the first time that cholesterol-lowering has similar benefits for people with kidney disease for avoiding heart attack and strokes as for people with healthy kidneys.”

“People with chronic kidney disease have a very high risk of developing heart diseases or stroke. Until now it has not been clear which treatments could reduce this risk. Consequently it is likely that the SHARP results will result in cholesterol-lowing treatment being used extensively in this large group of high-risk people,” continued Professor Cass.

“The safety of the combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin in people with kidney disease has also been demonstrated by the SHARP study, which is another critical finding of such a large-scale and high quality study,” added Professor Bruce Neal, Senior Director, The George Institute and SHARP Study Steering Committee member.

“The results of the SHARP study provide much needed evidence to drive future treatment for the many Australians who suffer with chronic kidney disease. Preventing early heart attacks and strokes in this population should represent highly cost-effective therapy,” concluded Professor Cass.