Red Yeast Rice Supplements May Contain Lovastatin
August 14, 2007
FDA is warning consumers to avoid using certain red yeast rice products. Some products sold as dietary supplements contain added amounts of the prescription cholesterol-lowering medication lovastatin. Traditional red yeast rice products contain monacolins such as lovastatin, but only in trace amounts. Recently, the following three products were found to contain more than 5 mg lovastatin per capsule:
- Red Yeast Rice made by Nature’s Value and sold by Swanson Healthcare Products,
- Red Yeast Rice/Policosonal Complex made by Kabco and sold by Swanson Healthcare Products, and
- Cholestrix sold by Sunburst Biorganics.
FDA has asked the companies to stop marketing these products, which are sold over the Internet as dietary supplements to reduce cholesterol.
Lovastatin may cause severe adverse reactions, including rhabdomyolysis and renal failure. Risk of these reactions increases with use of higher lovastatin doses and in patients taking interacting medications.
Educate consumers to avoid taking these products and to consult their healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about dietary supplements. Additional information is available at the following links:
- MedWatch Alert:
- FDA News Release:
- FDA Warning Letters:
August 14, 2007; University of Utah, Drug Information Service. Copyright 2009, Drug Information Service, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.