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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2012 Sep;13(13):1901-9. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2012.706604. Epub 2012 Jul 7.

The safety and effectiveness of statins as treatment for HIV-dyslipidemia: the evidence so far and the future challenges.

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The James Cook University Hospital, Division of acute Medicine, Middlesbrough TS4 3BW, UK.



Statin therapy is widely used across the globe for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is well established that statin therapy is associated with significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and plasma cholesterol levels. HIV-dyslipidemia is a common problem with extensive use of combination antiretroviral therapy (CART), and is associated with an increase in incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), resulting in hospital admission and surgery throughout the western healthcare systems.


This review describes the effectiveness and safety of statins in the treatment of HIV-dyslipidemia. Medline was searched for different statins as treatment for HIV-dyslipidemia.


Dyslipidemia in patients with HIV is different from the normal population, due to the fact that HIV treatment may not only cause dyslipidemia, but may also interact with lipid lowering medication. Statin-unresponsive HIV-dyslipidemia can be treated with the addition of ezetimibe, fenofibrate, fish oil and niacin. Current guidelines recommend the use of pravastatin and atorvastatin as first-line therapy, whereas European guidelines include rosuvastatin. There is an urgent need to confirm whether the use of statins in HIV-dyslipidemia is associated with an increase in the incidence of diabetes; this is significant because HIV patients are known to be insulin-resistant. HIV is also associated with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), a condition known to be associated with insulin resistance. Further clinical trials are urgently needed to assess the impact of statins on CVD in HIV patients, and future challenges for researchers in this area are enormous.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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