Atorvastatin increases 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentrations in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome

Thozhukat Sathyapalan, John Shepherd, Charlotte Arnett, Anne Marie Coady, Eric S. Kilpatrick, Stephen Atkin

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BACKGROUND: It has been shown that many women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) insufficient. Both statin treatment and vitamin D supplementation have been shown to improve biochemical hyperandrogenemia, insulin resistance, and markers of inflammation in patients with PCOS, raising the possibility that some of the statin effects are mediated through vitamin D. METHODS: We conducted this randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study to assess the effect of atorvastatin on serum 25OHD concentrations in patients with PCOS. Forty medication-naive patients with PCOS were randomized to either atorvastatin 20 mg daily or placebo for 3 months. After completing the initial 3months of atorvastatin or placebo, both groups of patients participated in a 3-month extension study with metformin 1500 mg daily. We measured changes in 25OHD concentrations by use of tandem mass spectrometry. RESULTS: Mean (SD) baseline 25OHD concentrations were comparable between the 2 groups [45.9 (2.4) vs 44.8 (1.8) nmol/L; P = 0.7]. There was a significant increase in 25OHD concentrations with atorvastatin [45.9 (2.4) vs 60.8 (3.5) nmol/L] compared with placebo [44.8 (1.8) vs 41.8 (3.2) nmol/L; P = 0.02]. Three-month treatment with metformin maintained the improvement of 25OHD with atorvastatin compared to baseline [45.9 (2.4) vs 61.8 (3.5), P ≤ 0.01). There were no significant changes in 25OHD concentrations in the placebo group after 12 weeks of metformin. CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, 12 weeks of atorvastatin led to a clinically significant rise in 25OHD concentrations. This may represent a beneficial pleiotropic effect of statins on 25OHD concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1696-1700
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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