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Int J Clin Pract Suppl. 2003 Mar;(134):45-50.

What future for combination therapies?

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Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


For most patients who require lipid-lowering treatment, statin monotherapy is the appropriate treatment. However, in those patients where statin monotherapy does not produce optimal lipid levels, the combination of a statin with niacin, a bile acid sequestrant, a fibric acid derivative, a cholesterol absorption inhibitor or a fish oil preparation may provide improved control. The choice of combination therapy depends upon the patient's lipid profile and tolerability of the medication. Combination of a statin with niacin, a bile acid sequestrant or ezetimibe, a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, should be considered for patients with very high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, while combination with either a fibric acid derivative or a fish oil should be considered for patients with high LDL-C and high triglyceride levels. A number of new lipid-lowering agents are currently in development, including cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors, acyl coenzyme A: cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) inhibitors, ileal bile acid transport (IBAT) inhibitors, microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) inhibitors and dual peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha and gamma agonists. Introduction of these novel therapies will provide opportunities for developing different combination strategies that may help to optimise lipid profiles in patients who are currently difficult to treat. The introduction of new combinations will require careful study to ensure that the risks of drug interactions and adverse events are minimised.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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