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Int J Cardiol. 2008 Feb 29;124(2):149-59. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Vascular and metabolic effects of treatment of combined hyperlipidemia: focus on statins and fibrates.

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Division of Cardiology, Gil Heart Center, Gachon Medical School, Incheon, Republic of Korea.


Combined hyperlipidemia results from overproduction of hepatically synthesized apolipoprotein B in very low-density lipoproteins in association with reduced lipoprotein lipase activity. Thus, this condition is typically characterized by concurrent elevations in total cholesterol and triglycerides with decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. High levels of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins, most prominently carried by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, are an important risk factor for coronary heart disease. Statin therapy is highly effective at lowering LDL cholesterol. Despite the benefits of statin treatment for lowering total and LDL cholesterol, many statin-treated patients still have initial or recurrent coronary heart disease events. In this regard, combined therapy with statins and fibrates is more effective in controlling atherogenic dyslipidemia in patients with combined hyperlipidemia than either drug alone. Furthermore, statins and fibrates activate PPARalpha in a synergistic manner providing a molecular rationale for combination treatment in coronary heart disease. Endothelial dysfunction associated with cardiovascular diseases may contribute to insulin resistance so that there may also be additional beneficial metabolic effects of combined statin/fibrates therapy. However, there has been little published evidence that combined therapy is synergistic or even better than monotherapy alone in clinical studies. Therefore, there is a great need to study the effects of combination therapy in patients. When statins are combined with gemfibrozil therapy, this is more likely to be accompanied by myopathy. However, this limitation is not observed when fenofibrate, bezafibrate, or ciprofibrate are used in combination therapy.

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