Is red yeast rice a safe and effective alternative to statin drugs for lowering cholesterol?
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Some red yeast rice products contain monacolins, including monacolin K—identical to lovastatin—and may be effective. (SOR B, based on lower quality randomized controlled trials [RCTs].) But as with lovastatin, use of red yeast rice is associated with symptomatic myopathy. (SOR C, based on case reports.) Also, analytical reports have found that many red yeast rice products contain negligible monacolin content. Thus, if effective, red yeast rice is not completely safe; while if the product is safe, it may no longer be effective.
Evidence Based Practice 11(10): 08.