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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 1996 Apr;1(2):107-116.

Efficacy and Tolerability of Low-dose Simvastatin and Niacin, Alone and in Combination, in Patients With Combined Hyperlipidemia: A Prospective Trial.

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  • 1Medical Research Laboratories, Chicago Center for Clinical Research, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Combination lipid-lowering therapy may be desirable in patients with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This study was conducted to determine the lipid-lowering efficacy of the combination of low-dose simvastatin and niacin in patients with combined hyperlipidemia and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

In this multicenter, prospective, randomized trial, 180 patients with hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia and/or low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were randomized to combination simvastatin (10 mg/day) and niacin (0.75 g/day) or to either drug alone for 9 weeks. The dose of niacin was doubled (from 0.75 g/day to 1.5 g/day) in both the combination and niacin arms for the remaining 8 weeks. The combination of simvastatin, 10 mg/day, and niacin, 1.5 g/day, reduced total, low-density lipoprotein, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides by 24%, 29%, 45%, and 31%, respectively, while increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 31%. The addition of niacin to simvastatin did not enhance the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 31%. The addition of niacin to simvastatin did not enhance the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol-lowering effect of simvastatin; however, the combination was more effective than either monotherapy at raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lowering very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P <.05). More patients discontinued treatment because of an adverse event in the niacin (P <.03) and combination groups (P =.06) than the simvastatin group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Treatment of patients with combined hyperlipidemia and/or low high-density lipoprotein with combination low-dose simvastatin and niacin resulted in large reductions in total, low-density lipoprotein, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increases in HDL cholesterol. Although the combination was well tolerated in the current trial, its safety needs to be evaluated in larger trials of longer duration.

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