Policosanol

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What other names is Policosanol known by?

32-C, Dotriacontanol, Heptacosanol, Hexacosanol, Nonacosanol, Octacosanol, Tetracosanol, Tétracosanol, Tetratriacontanol, Tétratriacontanol, Triacontanol.

What is Policosanol?

Policosanol is a chemical obtained from sugar cane and other sources.

Policosanol is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.

Policosanol is used for conditions that affect the health of the heart and blood vessels including high cholesterol, leg pain due to poor circulation (intermittent claudication), and narrowing of the blood vessels that serve the heart.

Likely Effective for...

  • Leg pain due to poor blood circulation (intermittent claudication). Taking policosanol by mouth seems to improve the distance people with intermittent claudication can walk without pain.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Clogged arteries. Early research suggests that taking policosanol daily, alone or together with aspirin for 20 months, can reduce heart disease-related events in people with clogged arteries.
  • Inherited high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia). Limited research suggests that taking policosanol does not reduce total cholesterol or "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol) in people with an inherited tendency to have high cholesterol.
  • High cholesterol. Research findings disagree about the effectiveness of policosanol in treating high cholesterol. There have been some studies that find it effective. However, all of these studies were done in Cuba, where the sugar cane that is used to make policosanol is grown. Research done outside Cuba (in Germany, Canada, and South Africa) found that policosanol does not lower cholesterol.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate policosanol for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Policosanol work?

Policosanol seems to decrease cholesterol production in the liver and to increase the break down of LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad") cholesterol. It also decreases the stickiness of particles in the blood known as platelets, which might help reduce blood clots.

Are there safety concerns?

Policosanol is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in doses of 5-80 mg daily for up to 3 years. It can cause skin redness and rash, migraines, insomnia or drowsiness, irritability, dizziness, upset stomach, increased appetite, trouble urinating, weight loss, nose and gum bleeds, and other side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking policosanol if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Policosanol can slow blood clotting and might increase the chance of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Surgery: Policosanol can slow blood clotting. There is a concern that it might increase the chance of extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using policosanol at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Policosanol might slow blood clotting. Taking policosanol along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.



Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Policosanol might decrease blood pressure in some people. Taking policosanol along with medications used for lowering high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Do not take too much policosanol if you are taking medications for high blood pressure.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Dosing considerations for Policosanol.

The appropriate dose of policosanol depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for policosanol. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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