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Metabolism. 2002 Oct;51(10):1355-9.

Comparison in patients with type 2 diabetes of fibric acid versus hepatic hydroxymethyl glutaryl-coenzyme a reductase inhibitor treatment of combined dyslipidemia.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.


Patients with combined dyslipidemia are at greatly increased coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. The threat of rhabdomyolysis with dual pharmacologic treatment (hepatic hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A [HMG-CoA] reductase inhibitors plus fibric acid derivatives) has tended to limit therapy in patients with combined dyslipidemia to a choice of one or the other drug. Judgment of the potential benefits of either agent has rarely taken into account their effect on the postprandial accumulation of highly atherogenic, triglyceride (TG)-rich, remnant lipoprotein particles (RLPs). Because this information could be of substantial clinical relevance, we addressed this question in patients with type 2 diabetes and combined dyslipidemia by comparing the effects of gemfibrozil versus HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) on both fasting and postprandial lipid and lipoprotein concentrations. For this purpose, 22 patients with type 2 diabetes and combined dyslipidemia were randomized to treatment with either a statin or gemfibrozil for 3 months. Glycemic control was similar in both groups at baseline and did not change in response to treatment. Baseline lipid and lipoprotein concentrations were also similar in the 2 treatment groups, but the responses to therapy were quite different. Statin-treated patients had a statistically significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration (156 mg/dL to 96 mg/dL, P <.001), whereas there was no change in patients treated with gemfibrozil. In contrast, there was a statistically significant decrease (P <.05) in plasma TG concentrations (116 mg/dL) in gemfibrozil-treated individuals, without any change in subjects treated with statins. However, the decrease in total integrated postprandial plasma RLP response measured hourly from 8 AM to 4 PM was not different in patients treated with either gemfibrozil (-43%) or statins (-34%). These results indicate that statin treatment, in addition to its beneficial effect on hypercholesterolemia, was as effective as gemfibrozil in reducing postprandial accumulation of triglyceride-rich, atherogenic RLPs in patients with type 2 diabetes and combined dyslipidemia. As such, the clinical utility of statin monotherapy in the treatment of combined dyslipidemia may have been underestimated.

Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

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