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Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2013 Apr;72(4):123-7.

The effects of extended release niacin on lipoprotein sub-particle concentrations in HIV-infected patients.

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John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, HI, USA.


With the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) has emerged as the leading cause of death in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infected patients. An atherogenic lipoprotein phenotype has been described in HIV- infected patients with a predominance of small, low density lipoprotein (SLDL) particles with accompanying elevated triglycerides and reduced high density lipoprotein cholesterol. This randomized controlled pilot study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Extended Release Niacin (ERN) in improving the lipid profile in HIV patients. A total of 17 HIV positive subjects on HAART therapy with High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL) levels below 40mg/dl and Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL) below 130mg/dl were enrolled. Nine were randomized to be treated with ERN titrated from a starting level of 500mg/night and titrated to a level of 1500mg/night. Eight patients were assigned to the control arm. No placebo was used. Lipoprotein profiles of the subjects were analyzed at baseline and at the end of 12 weeks using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. At the end of 12 weeks, NMR spectroscopic analysis revealed a significant increase in overall LDL size (1.2% in ERN treated subjects vs 2.0% decrease in control patients, P=.04) and a decrease in small LDL particle concentration (17.0% in ERN treated subjects vs 21.4% increase in control patients, P=.03) in subjects receiving ERN as compared to those in the control group. Only 1 subject receiving ERN developed serious flushing which was attributed to an accidental overdose of the drug. This pilot study demonstrates that ERN therapy in HIV-infected patients with low HDL is safe and effective in improving the lipoprotein profile in these patients.

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