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Ann Pharmacother. 2001 Jul-Aug;35(7-8):908-17.

Statin-fibrate combination therapy.

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  • 1Thomas J Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA 95211-0001, USA. ashek@uop.edu



Precautionary warnings for severe myopathy and rhabdomyolysis from the coadministration of statins and fibrates have been well publicized. However, a recent cerivastatin labeling change made the combined use with fibric acid derivatives a contraindication. Practical recommendations for clinicians who care for patients with refractory mixed hyperlipidemia are needed.


To provide recommendations for clinicians in the treatment of refractory mixed hyperlipidemia.


A comprehensive MEDLINE (1966-July 2000) and bibliographic search was performed.


Thirty-six published clinical trials and 29 case reports involving combination therapy with hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors and fibric acid derivatives regarding the occurrence of rhabdomyolysis or myopathy were reviewed. The literature review demonstrated that combination therapy with a statin and fibrate increases the risk of muscle damage, with an incidence of 0.12%. Risk factors that predispose patients to myopathy caused by combination statin-fibrate therapy include increased age, female gender, renal or liver disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism, debilitated status, surgery, trauma, excessive alcohol intake, and heavy exercise.


Combination therapy with a statin and fibrate offers significant therapeutic advantage for the treatment of severe or refractory mixed hyperlipidemia. Although such a combination does increase the risk of myopathy, with an incidence of approximately 0.12%, this small risk of myopathy rarely outweighs the established morbidity and mortality benefits of achieving lipid goals. Nevertheless, a higher incidence of myopathy has been reported with statin monotherapy. When monotherapy with a statin fails to control mixed hyperlipidemia, combination therapy may be considered. Niacin may be added before a fibrate is considered, as it appears to have less risk of myopathy. Statin-fibrate combination therapy must be undertaken cautiously and only after careful risk-benefit analysis. Patient counseling on the risks and warning signs of myopathy is extremely important.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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