BACKGROUND/AIMS Hyperlipoproteinemia is frequent following liver transplantation and may lead to atherosclerosis. Lipid-lowering agents may be useful, but could interfere with the function of the transplanted organ and with immunosuppression. We therefore evaluated in a prospective, randomized, open-labeled cross-over trial the effect of two frequently used 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (pravastatin 10 mg d(-1) and cerivastatin 0.1 mg d(-1)) in hyperlipoproteinemic patients after liver transplantation. METHODS Sixteen patients (6.3 +/- 2.0 years post-transplantation, cyclosporine n = 11, tacrolimus n = 5) with hyperlipoproteinemia (cholesterol 246 +/- 42, triglycerides 191 +/- 87, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol 161 +/- 35, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol 44 +/- 11 mg d(-1)) were included. Treatment periods of 6 weeks were separated by a 4-week washout period. RESULTS Both medications were tolerated well, no effects on serum concentrations of liver enzymes or immunosuppressive agents were observed. Cerivastatin and pravastatin decreased (P < 0.001) cholesterol by 21 +/- 10% and 15 +/- 10%, LDL-cholesterol by 27 +/- 14% and 17 +/- 15%, respectively, while triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol concentrations did not change significantly. LDL/HDL-cholesterol markedly improved (P < 0.001) by 29 +/- 16% (cerivastatin) and 16 +/- 16% (pravastatin). Cerivastatin was more potent than pravastatin in patients receiving cyclosporine A, while there was no significant difference in patients receiving tacrolimus. CONCLUSIONS Low-dose cerivastatin and pravastatin significantly improve lipid profiles following liver transplantation without affecting liver function or immunosuppression.