2003 Volume 10 Issue 3 Pages 160-164
Atorvastatin, a second generation synthetic 3-hydroxy 3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor used in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, reduces both intracellular cholesterol synthesis and serum cholesterol levels, and this could have a potential negative impact on gonadal and adrenal steroidogenesis. Hypercholesterolemia in type 2 diabetes, even when mild, must be treated in an aggressive way, due to the more strict therapeutic goals than in the non diabetic population. Since the wide use of 3-hydroxy 3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor (statins) in type 2 diabetes, the main aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of “therapeutic” doses of atorvastatin on gonadal and adrenal hormones in 24 type 2 diabetic patients (16 males and 8 postmenopausal females), with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia (LDL-cholesterol = 150.1 ± 32.0 and 189.9 ± 32.9 mg/dl, respectively) studied before and after a 3 months treatment with atorvastatin (20 mg/day). In all patients, lipids and serum cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), androstendione and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) were measured, with the addition, only in males, of testosterone and free testosterone index. After atorvastatin treatment a significant decrease in total and LDL cholesterol was observed (p < 0.05), while HDL-cholesterol did not significantly change ( p = N.S.), as no significant difference was found between steroid hormones measured before and after atorvastatin either in male and females. In conclusion, our data suggest that, in type 2 diabetic patients, the use of atorvastatin has no clinically important effects on either gonadal or adrenal steroid hormones.