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1.  Balanced pan-PPAR activator bezafibrate in combination with statin: comprehensive lipids control and diabetes prevention? 
All fibrates are peroxisome proliferators-activated receptors (PPARs)-alpha agonists with ability to decrease triglyceride and increase high density lipoprotein- cholesterol (HDL-C). However, bezafibrate has a unique characteristic profile of action since it activates all three PPAR subtypes (alpha, gamma and delta) at comparable doses. Therefore, bezafibrate operates as a pan-agonist for all three PPAR isoforms. Selective PPAR gamma agonists (thiazolidinediones) are used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). They improve insulin sensitivity by up-regulating adipogenesis, decreasing free fatty acid levels, and reversing insulin resistance. However, selective PPAR gamma agonists also cause water retention, weight gain, peripheral edema, and congestive heart failure. The expression of PPAR beta/ delta in essentially all cell types and tissues (ubiquitous presence) suggests its potential fundamental role in cellular biology. PPAR beta/ delta effects correlated with enhancement of fatty acid oxidation, energy consumption and adaptive thermogenesis. Together, these data implicate PPAR beta/delta in fuel combustion and suggest that pan-PPAR agonists that include a component of PPAR beta/delta activation might offset some of the weight gain issues seen with selective PPAR gamma agonists, as was demonstrated by bezafibrate studies. Suggestively, on the whole body level all PPARs acting as one orchestra and balanced pan-PPAR activation seems as an especially attractive pharmacological goal. Conceptually, combined PPAR gamma and alpha action can target simultaneously insulin resistance and atherogenic dyslipidemia, whereas PPAR beta/delta properties may prevent the development of overweight. Bezafibrate, as all fibrates, significantly reduced plasma triglycerides and increased HDL-C level (but considerably stronger than other major fibrates). Bezafibrate significantly decreased prevalence of small, dense low density lipoproteins particles, remnants, induced atherosclerotic plaque regression in thoracic and abdominal aorta and improved endothelial function. In addition, bezafibrate has important fibrinogen-related properties and anti-inflammatory effects. In clinical trials bezafibrate was highly effective for cardiovascular risk reduction in patients with metabolic syndrome and atherogenic dyslipidemia. The principal differences between bezafibrate and other fibrates are related to effects on glucose level and insulin resistance. Bezafibrate decreases blood glucose level, HbA1C, insulin resistance and reduces the incidence of T2DM compared to placebo or other fibrates. Currently statins are the cornerstone of the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases related to atherosclerosis. However, despite the increasing use of statins as monotherapy for low density lipoprotein- cholesterol (LDL-C) reduction, a significant residual cardiovascular risk is still presented in patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, which is typical for T2DM and metabolic syndrome. Recently, concerns were raised regarding the development of diabetes in statin-treated patients. Combined bezafibrate/statin therapy is more effective in achieving a comprehensive lipid control and residual cardiovascular risk reduction. Based on the beneficial effects of pan-PPAR agonist bezafibrate on glucose metabolism and prevention of new-onset diabetes, one could expect a neutralization of the adverse pro-diabetic effect of statins using the strategy of a combined statin/fibrate therapy.
PMCID: PMC3502168  PMID: 23150952
Atherogenic dyslipidemia; Bezafibrate; Combined fibrate/statin therapy; Metabolic syndrome; PPAR; Prevention; Residual cardiovascular risk; Type 2 diabetes
2.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it": a commentary on the positive-negative results of the ACCORD Lipid study 
Even using intensive statin monotherapy, many patients fail to achieve all the desired lipid goals and remain at high residual risk of cardiovascular events. In view of the still unproven decisively intensive "statin as monotherapy" strategy and "residual risk" concept, it is logical to ask whether other strategies, particularly fibrate/statin combination therapy, could be more beneficial and safer. A clear benefit of fibrate monotherapy did emerge previously among patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia (particularly high triglycerides and low high density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C]) typically present in the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. In contrast, in patients without atherogenic dyslipidemia this favorable effect was not demonstrated.
The Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) study investigated whether combination therapy with a statin plus a fibrate, as compared with statin monotherapy, would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, relevant patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia represented less than 17 percent of the ACCORD Lipid population (941 out of 5518 patients). In this prespecified subgroup, the patients benefited from fenofibrate therapy in addition to simvastatin similar to the previous "fibrate's as monotherapy" trials: the primary outcome rate was 12.4% in the fenofibrate group, versus 17.3% in the placebo group (28% crude HR reduction, CI less than1, e.g. statistically significant findings). Among all other 4548 patients without atherogenic dyslipidemia such rates were 10.1% in both fenofibrate and placebo study groups. Authors concluded that in the overall cohort of patients the combination of fenofibrate and simvastatin did not reduce the rate of the cardiovascular events as compared with simvastatin alone. Thus, their results do not support the routine use of combination therapy with fenofibrate and simvastatin to reduce cardiovascular risk in the general patients with type 2 diabetes. A recent large meta-analysis regarding effects of fibrates on cardiovascular outcomes noted greater effect sizes in trials that recorded a higher mean baseline triglyceride concentration (p = 0.030). As expected, in a so called "general population", reflecting a blend of effects in patients with and without atherogenic dyslipidemia, a mean "diluted" effect of fibrate therapy was reduced, but still producing a significant 10% relative risk (RR) decrease in major cardiovascular events (p = 0.048) and a 13% RR reduction for coronary events (p < 0.0001).
It should be pinpointed that the epidemiological characteristics of the ACCORD Lipid study depart from those seen in real clinical practice: among people with type 2 diabetes, there is a high prevalence of atherogenic dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome. For example, an analysis of NHANES III data in adults aged ≥50 years showed that approximately 86% of patients with type 2 diabetes also had the metabolic syndrome. Therefore, an importand finding of ACCORD Lipid study was the observation that fibrates may lead to cardiovascular risk reduction in patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia not only as monotherapy but in combination with statins as well.
In conclusion, in patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia (high triglycerides and low HDL-C, fibrates -- either as monotherapy or combined with statins - were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events. In patients without dyslipidemia this favorable effect - as expected - was absent.
PMCID: PMC2893121  PMID: 20550659
3.  Which is the best lipid-modifying strategy in metabolic syndrome and diabetes: fibrates, statins or both? 
Although less clinical intervention studies have been performed with fibrates than with statins, there are evidences indicating that fibrates may reduce risk of cardiovascular events. The potential clinical benefit of the fenofibrate will be specified by the ongoing Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study, which rationale, methods and aims have been just published.
Controlled clinical trials show similar or even greater cardiovascular benefits from statins-based therapy in patient subgroups with diabetes compared with overall study populations. Therefore, statins are the drug of first choice for aggressive lipid lowering actions and reducing risk of coronary artery disease in these patients. However, current therapeutic use of statins as monotherapy is still leaving many patients with mixed atherogenic dyslipidemia at high risk for coronary events. A combination statin/fibrate therapy may be often necessary to control all lipid abnormalities in patients with metabolic syndrome and diabetes adequately, since fibrates provide additional important benefits, particularly on triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol levels. Thus, this combined therapy concentrates on all the components of the mixed dyslipidemia that often occurs in persons with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, and may be expected to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Safety concerns about some fibrates such as gemfibrozil may lead to exaggerate precautions regarding fibrate administration and therefore diminish the use of the seagents. However, other fibrates, such as bezafibrate and fenofibrate appear to be safer and better tolerated. We believe that a proper co-administration of statins and fibrates, selected on basis of their safety, could be more effective in achieving a comprehensive lipid control as compared with monotherapy.
PMCID: PMC538252  PMID: 15574199
Diabetes mellitus; Dyslipidemia; Fibrates; Metabolic syndrome; Statins
4.  Hypertriglyceridemia: a too long unfairly neglected major cardiovascular risk factor 
The existence of an independent association between elevated triglyceride (TG) levels, cardiovascular (CV) risk and mortality has been largely controversial. The main difficulty in isolating the effect of hypertriglyceridemia on CV risk is the fact that elevated triglyceride levels are commonly associated with concomitant changes in high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and other lipoproteins. As a result of this problem and in disregard of the real biological role of TG, its significance as a plausible therapeutic target was unfoundedly underestimated for many years. However, taking epidemiological data together, both moderate and severe hypertriglyceridaemia are associated with a substantially increased long term total mortality and CV risk. Plasma TG levels partially reflect the concentration of the triglyceride-carrying lipoproteins (TRL): very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), chylomicrons and their remnants. Furthermore, hypertriglyceridemia commonly leads to reduction in HDL and increase in atherogenic small dense LDL levels. TG may also stimulate atherogenesis by mechanisms, such excessive free fatty acids (FFA) release, production of proinflammatory cytokines, fibrinogen, coagulation factors and impairment of fibrinolysis. Genetic studies strongly support hypertriglyceridemia and high concentrations of TRL as causal risk factors for CV disease. The most common forms of hypertriglyceridemia are related to overweight and sedentary life style, which in turn lead to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome (MS) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Intensive lifestyle therapy is the main initial treatment of hypertriglyceridemia. Statins are a cornerstone of the modern lipids-modifying therapy. If the primary goal is to lower TG levels, fibrates (bezafibrate and fenofibrate for monotherapy, and in combination with statin; gemfibrozil only for monotherapy) could be the preferable drugs. Also ezetimibe has mild positive effects in lowering TG. Initial experience with en ezetimibe/fibrates combination seems promising. The recently released IMPROVE-IT Trial is the first to prove that adding a non-statin drug (ezetimibe) to a statin lowers the risk of future CV events. In conclusion, the classical clinical paradigm of lipids-modifying treatment should be changed and high TG should be recognized as an important target for therapy in their own right. Hypertriglyceridemia should be treated.
PMCID: PMC4264548  PMID: 25471221
Cardiovascular risk; Cholesterol; Fibrates; Hypertriglyceridemia; Insulin resistance; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity; Statins; Triglycerides; Type 2 diabetes
5.  Vascular and metabolic effects of treatment of combined hyperlipidemia 
International journal of cardiology  2007;124(2):149-159.
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 PPARα 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.
PMCID: PMC2758222  PMID: 17658632
Statins; Fibrates; Endothelial function; Insulin resistance; Combined hyperlipidemia; Safety
6.  Atherogenic dyslipidemia in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: therapeutic options beyond statins 
Lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) is clearly efficacious in the treatment and prevention of coronary artery disease. However, despite increasing use of statins, a significant number of coronary events still occur and many of such events take place in patients presenting with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. More and more attention is being paid now to combined atherogenic dyslipidemia which typically presents in patients with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This mixed dyslipidemia (or "lipid quartet"): hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, a preponderance of small, dense low-density lipoprotein particles and an accumulation of cholesterol-rich remnant particles (e.g. high levels of apolipoprotein B) – emerged as the greatest "competitor" of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol among lipid risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Most recent extensions of the fibrates trials (BIP – Bezafibrate Infarction Prevention study, HHS – Helsinki Heart Study, VAHIT – Veterans Affairs High-density lipoprotein cholesterol Intervention Trial and FIELD – Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes) give further support to the hypothesis that patients with insulin-resistant syndromes such as diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome might be the ones to derive the most benefit from therapy with fibrates. However, different fibrates may have a somewhat different spectrum of effects. Other lipid-modifying strategies included using of niacin, ezetimibe, bile acid sequestrants and cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibition. In addition, bezafibrate as pan-peroxisome proliferator activated receptor activator has clearly demonstrated beneficial pleiotropic effects related to glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Because fibrates, niacin, ezetimibe and statins each regulate serum lipids by different mechanisms, combination therapy – selected on the basis of their safety and effectiveness – may offer particularly desirable benefits in patients with combined hyperlipidemia as compared with statins monotherapy.
PMCID: PMC1592077  PMID: 17002798
7.  Combination therapy of statins and fibrates in the management of cardiovascular risk 
Current Opinion in Lipidology  2009;20(6):505-511.
Purpose of review
Despite that statin treatment substantially reduces cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, many treated patients still experience a high residual risk. Statins lower LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), with limited effects on other lipid parameters. Fibrates improve atherogenic dyslipidemia characterized by high triglyceride and/or low HDL-C levels and elevated concentrations of small dense LDL particles, with or without high LDL-C levels. Fibrates decrease cardiovascular morbidity especially in patients with the metabolic syndrome. The purpose of this review is to provide a rationale for the combined use of statins and fibrates in the management of patients with high residual cardiovascular risk related to atherogenic dyslipidemia and persisting after single therapy.
Recent findings
A meta-analysis from 14 randomised trials conducted in high-risk patients reported that statin therapy is effective in reducing the proportional risk for major vascular events by 21% for each mmol/L lowering of LDL-C. However, on average 14% of patients still experienced an event despite being allocated to statin. Beyond LDL-C, other factors, including triglycerides, non-HDL-C, HDL-C and apolipoprotein B, have been identified as factors determining residual risk, and normalization of these parameters may further decrease cardiovascular disease in patients treated with statins. Data from fibrate trials indicate that these drugs are particularly effective in reducing cardiovascular morbidity in patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia.
Reducing the residual cardiovascular risk in patients treated with statins requires addressing multiple lipid goals. In this context, future therapeutic interventions based on combination therapy, such as statins and fibrates, appears particularly promising.
PMCID: PMC2980504  PMID: 19829109
Antilipemic Agents; therapeutic use; Cardiovascular Diseases; blood; drug therapy; Cholesterol, LDL; blood; Clofibric Acid; therapeutic use; Drug Therapy, Combination; Humans; Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors; therapeutic use; Meta-Analysis as Topic; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Treatment Outcome; Cardiovascular risk factors; Residual risk; Statins; Fibrates; Dyslipoproteinemia
8.  Cardiovascular Events in Patients Received Combined Fibrate/Statin Treatment versus Statin Monotherapy: Acute Coronary Syndrome Israeli Surveys Data 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35298.
The effect of combination of fibrate with statin on major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) following acute coronary syndrome (ACS) hospitalization is unclear. The main aim of this study was to investigate the 30-day rate of MACE in patients who participated in the nationwide ACS Israeli Surveys (ACSIS) and were treated on discharge with a fibrate (mainly bezafibrate) and statin combination vs. statin alone.
The study population comprised 8,982 patients from the ACSIS 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 enrollment waves who were alive on discharge and received statin. Of these, 8,545 (95%) received statin alone and 437 (5%) received fibrate/statin combination. MACE was defined as a composite measure of death, recurrent MI, recurrent ischemia, stent thrombosis, ischemic stroke and urgent revascularization.
Patients from the combination group were younger (58.1±11.9 vs. 62.9±12.6 years). However, they had significantly more co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes), current smokers and unfavorable cardio-metabolic profiles (with respect to glucose, total cholesterol, triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol). Development of MACE was recorded in 513 (6.0%) patients from the statin monotherapy group vs. 13 (3.2%) from the combination group, p = 0.01. 30-day re-hospitalization rate was significantly lower in the combination group: 68 (15.6%) vs. 1691 (19.8%) of patients, respectively; p = 0.03. Multivariable analysis identified the fibrate/statin combination as an independent predictor of reduced risk of MACE with odds ratio of 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.32–0.94.
A significantly lower risk of 30-day MACE rate was observed in patients receiving combined fibrate/statin treatment following ACS compared with statin monotherapy. However, caution should be exercised in interpreting these findings taking into consideration baseline differences between our observational study groups.
PMCID: PMC3327654  PMID: 22523582
9.  Role of Colesevelam in Combination Lipid-Lowering Therapy 
Hyperlipidemia is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events; reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), the primary target for cholesterol-lowering therapy, lowers the risk for such events. Although bile acid sequestrants were the first class of drugs to show a mortality benefit related to LDL-C lowering, statins are now considered first-line pharmacological therapy for reducing LDL-C levels because of their potency and their remarkable record of successful outcomes studies. Nevertheless, a substantial proportion of patients do not achieve LDL-C goals with statin monotherapy. In addition, because of adverse effects (primarily myopathy), some patients may be unwilling to use or unable to tolerate statin therapy at all or may not tolerate a full therapeutic statin dose. Also, statins may increase risk of new-onset diabetes in patients at high risk for diabetes. Thus, there remains a need for other lipid-lowering drugs to be used in combination with or in place of statins. The purpose of this article is to review available data from the literature on the use of colesevelam, a second-generation bile acid sequestrant, in combination with other lipid-lowering agents. Colesevelam has been studied in combination with statins, niacin, fibrates, and ezetimibe (including some three-drug combinations). An additive reduction in LDL-C was seen with all combinations. Other observed effects of colesevelam in combination with other lipid-lowering drugs include reductions in apolipoprotein (apo) B (with statins, fibrates, ezetimibe, statin plus niacin, or statin plus ezetimibe) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (with statins), and increases in apo A-I (with statins, ezetimibe, or statins plus niacin). Triglyceride levels remained relatively unchanged when colesevelam was combined with statins, fibrates, ezetimibe, or statin plus ezetimibe, and decreased with the triple combination of colesevelam, statin, and niacin. Colesevelam offset the negative glycemic effects of statins and niacin in subjects with insulin resistance or impaired glucose tolerance. Colesevelam was generally well tolerated when added to other lipid-lowering therapies in clinical trials, with gastrointestinal effects such as constipation being the predominant adverse events. Since colesevelam is not absorbed and works primarily in the intestine, it has a low potential for systemic metabolic drug–drug interactions with other drugs. Colesevelam has been shown to not interact with the lipid-lowering drugs lovastatin and fenofibrate; where interaction may be anticipated, separating dosing times by 4 h reduces the impact of any interaction. Available data confirms that colesevelam has additive cholesterol-lowering effects when used in combination with other lipid-lowering therapies. Furthermore, in some patient populations, the additional glucose-lowering effect of colesevelam may be beneficial in offsetting hyperglycemic effects of other lipid-lowering drugs.
PMCID: PMC3781306  PMID: 23913404
10.  The ACCORD-Lipid study: implications for treatment of dyslipidemia in Type 2 diabetes mellitus 
Clinical lipidology  2011;6(1):9-20.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Treatment of diabetic dyslipidemia, comprised mainly of hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL-C, with either statin or fibrate monotherapy, is moderately effective at reversing the abnormal lipid levels, but does not completely reverse the risk of CVD. Combination therapy with a statin and fibrate more effectively treats diabetic dyslipidemia; however, neither the impact on CVD risk nor the safety profile of statin–fibrate combined treatment had been tested in a large randomized trial. The Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD)-Lipid trial tested the hypothesis that combination therapy with a fibrate and statin would more effectively prevent major CVD events in a high-risk population of patients with T2DM compared with statin monotherapy. In ACCORD-Lipid, over 5000 patients were treated with fenofibrate plus simvastatin versus simvastatin alone. Although combination therapy did not significantly reduce CVD event rates in the ACCORD-Lipid cohort as a whole, a predefined subgroup of participants with the combination of significant hypertriglyceridemia and low HDL-C experienced a 31% lower event rate with combination therapy. Post hoc analyses conducted in similar subsets in previous fibrate monotherapy trials were concordant with these findings in ACCORD-Lipid. Combination therapy was well tolerated and safe, with no detectable increase in myopathy. The implications of the ACCORD-Lipid findings for the treatment of dyslipidemia in patients with T2DM are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4509601  PMID: 26207146
coronary heart disease; diabetes; dyslipidemia; fenofibrate; HDL-C; simvastatin; stroke; triglyceride
11.  Reducing Vascular Events Risk in Patients with Dyslipidaemia: An Update for Clinicians 
Reducing the risk of vascular events in patients with dyslipidaemia requires cardiovascular disease risk stratification and lifestyle/pharmacological intervention on modifiable risk factors. Reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) with statins is highly effective in reducing cardiovascular disease in patients with and without diabetes, but leaves unaddressed a sizeable residual vascular risk (RvR), which is rarely quantified in routine clinical practice. Such RvR may relate to lack of strict target attainment for all atherogenic variables [LDL-C, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and/or apolipoprotein B100]. Another substantial lipid-related and modifiable RvR component is related to atherogenic dyslipidaemia, especially as global rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are increasing. Atherogenic dyslipidaemia is associated with insulin-stimulated very-low-density lipoprotein overproduction and reduced reverse cholesterol transport. The hallmark of atherogenic dyslipidaemia is the coexistence of low HDL-C and elevated triglycerides. Therapeutic lifestyle changes and combination lipid-lowering therapy with drugs targeting atherogenic dyslipidaemia (such as fibrates or innovative drugs targeting atherogenic dyslipidaemia and/or apolipoprotein B100 metabolism) on top of background statins, have a potential to reduce RvR in high-risk groups, as shown in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial, in which combination therapy with simvastatin plus fenofibrate decreased macrovascular risk in patients with diabetes and atherogenic dyslipidaemia, and retinopathy risk irrespective of baseline lipids.
PMCID: PMC3513890  PMID: 23251757
cardiovascular risk; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; apolipoprotein B; atherogenic dyslipidaemia; metabolic syndrome; diabetes
12.  Should We Use PPAR Agonists to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk? 
PPAR Research  2008;2008:891425.
Trials of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists have shown mixed results for cardiovascular prevention. Fibrates are PPAR-α agonists that act primarily to improve dyslipidemia. Based on low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL and HDL) effects, gemfibrozil may be of greater cardiovascular benefit than expected, fenofibrate performed about as expected, and bezafibrate performed worse than expected. Increases in both cardiovascular and noncardiovascular serious adverse events have been observed with some fibrates. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are PPAR-γ agonists used to improve impaired glucose metabolism but also influence lipids. Pioglitazone reduces atherosclerotic events in diabetic subjects, but has no net cardiovascular benefit due to increased congestive heart failure risk. Rosiglitazone may increase the risk of atherosclerotic events, and has a net harmful effect on the cardiovascular system when congestive heart failure is included. The primary benefit of TZDs appears to be the prevention of diabetic microvascular complications. Dual PPAR-α/γ agonists have had unacceptable adverse effects but more selective agents are in development. PPAR-δ and pan-agonists are also in development. It will be imperative to prove that future PPAR agonists not only prevent atherosclerotic events but also result in a net reduction on total cardiovascular events without significant noncardiovascular adverse effects with long-term use.
PMCID: PMC2234387  PMID: 18288293
13.  Use of fibrates in the metabolic syndrome: A review 
World Journal of Diabetes  2016;7(5):74-88.
The use of fibrates in the treatment of dyslipidaemia has changed significantly over recent years. Their role appeared clear at the start of this century. The Helsinki Heart Study and Veterans Affairs High-Density Cholesterol Intervention Trial suggested significant benefit, especially in patients with atherogenic dyslipidaemia. However, this clarity disintegrated following the negative outcomes reported by the Bezafibrate Infarction Prevention, Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes and Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes randomised controlled trials. In this review we discuss these and other relevant trials and consider patient subgroups such as those with the metabolic syndrome and those needing treatment to prevent the microvascular complications associated with diabetes in whom fibrates may be useful. We also discuss observations from our group that may provide some explanation for the varying outcomes reported in large trials. The actions of fibrates in patients who are also on statins are interesting and appear to differ from those in patients not on statins. Understanding this is key as statins are the primary lipid lowering agents and likely to occupy that position for the foreseeable future. We also present other features of fibrate treatment we have observed in our clinical practice; changes in creatinine, liver function tests and the paradoxical high density lipoprotein reduction. Our purpose is to provide enough data for the reader to make objective decisions in their own clinical practice regarding fibrate use.
PMCID: PMC4781903  PMID: 26981181
Fibrates; Metabolic syndrome; Paradoxical high density lipoprotein cholesterol decrease; High density lipoprotein cholesterol; Cardiovascular disease; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor; Randomised control trial; Triglycerides
14.  Is combined lipid-regulating therapy safe and feasible for the very old patients with mixed dyslipidemia? 
To detect the efficacy and safety of combined lipid-regulating therapies in the very old patients with mixed dyslipidemia and determine an appropriate therapy for them.
Four hundred and fifty patients aged over 75 with mixed dyslipidemia were divided into five groups according to different combination therapies. Lipid levels and drug related adverse events were tested during the study.
Total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels were reduced in every group compared to baseline: statin + ezetimibe: −30.0% and −55.5%; statin + policosanol: −31.1% and −51.2%; statin + fibrates: −23.7% and −44.6%; statin + niacin: −25.2% and −43.0%; and niacin + fibrates: −11.3% and −23.5%. The target achievement rates of LDL-C all exceeded 50%, except in niacin + fibrates (42.0%); statin + ezetimibe: 57.0%; statin + policosanol: 56.0%; statin + niacin: 52.0%; and statin + fibrates: 50.0%. However, overall, the niacin + fibrates group was the most effective in decreasing triglyceride (TG) and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) as follows: niacin + fibrates: −39.3% and 28.6%; statin + fibrates: −29.3% and 18.4%; statin + niacin: −18.5% and 16.7%; statin + ezetimibe: −17.1% and 7.1%; and statin + policosanol: −15.6% and 9.5%. The achievement rates of TG and HDL-C levels in niacin + fibrates (58.0% and 39.0%) were better than the other four groups: statin + niacin (34.0% and 34.0%), statin + fibrates (43.0% and 28.0%), statin + policosanol (30.0% and 24.0%) and statin + ezetimibe (28.0% and 25.0%). Patients in all five groups experiencing drug adverse events were only 2% and no severe adverse events occurred.
Statin + ezetimibe was the most effective group in lowering TC and LDL-C levels, while niacin + fibrates was the most effective in decreasing TG and increasing HDL-C levels. The commonly used combined lipid-regulating therapies with common dosages in this study were all quite safe and feasible for the very old patients with mixed hyperlipidemia.
PMCID: PMC3888917  PMID: 24454328
Elderly patients; Mixed dyslipidemia; Combination therapies; Safety
15.  Low-Density Lipoprotein Apheresis 
Executive Summary
To assess the effectiveness and safety of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) apheresis performed with the heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation (HELP) system for the treatment of patients with refractory homozygous (HMZ) and heterozygous (HTZ) familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).
Background on Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic autosomal dominant disorder that is caused by several mutations in the LDL-receptor gene. The reduced number or absence of functional LDL receptors results in impaired hepatic clearance of circulating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) particles, which results in extremely high levels of LDL-C in the bloodstream. Familial hypercholesterolemia is characterized by excess LDL-C deposits in tendons and arterial walls, early onset of atherosclerotic disease, and premature cardiac death.
Familial hypercholesterolemia occurs in both HTZ and HMZ forms.
Heterozygous FH is one of the most common monogenic metabolic disorders in the general population, occurring in approximately 1 in 500 individuals1. Nevertheless, HTZ FH is largely undiagnosed and an accurate diagnosis occurs in only about 15% of affected patients in Canada. Thus, it is estimated that there are approximately 3,800 diagnosed and 21,680 undiagnosed cases of HTZ FH in Ontario.
In HTZ FH patients, half of the LDL receptors do not work properly or are absent, resulting in plasma LDL-C levels 2- to 3-fold higher than normal (range 7-15mmol/L or 300-500mg/dL). Most HTZ FH patients are not diagnosed until middle age when either they or one of their siblings present with symptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD). Without lipid-lowering treatment, 50% of males die before the age of 50 and 25% of females die before the age of 60, from myocardial infarction or sudden death.
In contrast to the HTZ form, HMZ FH is rare (occurring in 1 case per million persons) and more severe, with a 6- to 8-fold elevation in plasma LDL-C levels (range 15-25mmol/L or 500-1000mg/dL). Homozygous FH patients are typically diagnosed in infancy, usually due to the presence of cholesterol deposits in the skin and tendons. The main complication of HMZ FH is supravalvular aortic stenosis, which is caused by cholesterol deposits on the aortic valve and in the ascending aorta. The average life expectancy of affected individuals is 23 to 25 years. In Ontario, it is estimated that there are 13 to 15 cases of HMZ FH. An Ontario clinical expert confirmed that 9 HMZ FH patients have been identified to date.
There are 2 accepted clinical diagnostic criterion for the diagnosis of FH: the Simon Broome FH Register criteria from the United Kingdom and the Dutch Lipid Network criteria from the Netherlands. The criterion supplement cholesterol levels with clinical history, physical signs and family history. DNA-based-mutation-screening methods permit a definitive diagnosis of HTZ FH to be made. However, given that there are over 1000 identified mutations in the LDL receptor gene and that the detection rates of current techniques are low, genetic testing becomes problematic in countries with high genetic heterogeneity, such as Canada.
The primary aim of treatment in both HTZ and HMZ FH is to reduce plasma LDL-C levels in order to reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis and CAD.
The first line of treatment is dietary intervention, however it alone is rarely sufficient for the treatment of FH patients. Patients are frequently treated with lipid-lowering drugs such as resins, fibrates, niacin, statins and cholesterol absorption-inhibiting drugs (ezetimibe). Most HTZ FH patients require a combination of drugs to achieve or approach target cholesterol levels.
A small number of HTZ FH patients are refractory to treatment or intolerant to lipid-lowering medication. According to clinical experts, the prevalence of refractory HTZ FH in Ontario is between 1 to 5%. Using the mean of 3%, it is estimated that there are approximately 765 refractory HTZ FH patients in Ontario, of which 115 are diagnosed and 650 are undiagnosed.
Drug therapy is less effective in HMZ FH patients since the effects of the majority of cholesterol-lowering drugs are mediated by the upregulation of LDL receptors, which are often absent or function poorly in HMZ FH patients. Some HMZ FH patients may still benefit from drug therapy, however this rarely reduces LDL-C levels to targeted levels.
Existing Technology: Plasma Exchange
An option currently available in Ontario for FH patients who do not respond to standard diet and drug therapy is plasma exchange (PE). Patients are treated with this lifelong therapy on a weekly or biweekly basis with concomitant drug therapy.
Plasma exchange is nonspecific and eliminates virtually all plasma proteins such as albumin, immunoglobulins, coagulation factors, fibrinolytic factors and HDL-C, in addition to acutely lowering LDL-C by about 50%. Blood is removed from the patient, plasma is isolated, discarded and replaced with a substitution fluid. The substitution fluid and the remaining cellular components of the blood are then returned to the patient.
The major limitation of PE is its nonspecificity. The removal of HDL-C prevents successful vascular remodeling of the areas stenosed by atherosclerosis. In addition, there is an increased susceptibility to infections, and costs are incurred by the need for replacement fluid. Adverse events can be expected to occur in 12% of procedures.
Other Alternatives
Surgical alternatives for FH patients include portocaval shunt, ileal bypass and liver transplantation. However, these are risky procedures and are associated with a high morbidity rate. Results with gene therapy are not convincing to date.
The Technology Being Reviewed: LDL Apheresis
An alternative to PE is LDL apheresis. Unlike PE, LDL apheresis is a selective treatment that removes LDL-C and other atherogenic lipoproteins from the blood while minimally impacting other plasma components such as HDL-C, total serum protein, albumin and immunoglobulins. As with PE, FH patients require lifelong therapy with LDL apheresis on a weekly/biweekly basis with concomitant drug therapy.
Heparin-Induced Extracorporeal LDL Precipitation
Heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation (HELP) is one of the most widely used methods of LDL apheresis. It is a continuous closed-loop system that processes blood extracorporeally. It operates on the principle that at a low pH, LDL and lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] bind to heparin and fibrinogen to form a precipitate which is then removed by filtration. In general, the total duration of treatment is approximately 2 to 3 hours.
Results from early trials indicate that LDL-C concentration is reduced by 65% to 70% immediately following treatment in both HMZ and HTZ FH and then rapidly begins to rise. Typically patients with HTZ FH are treated every 2 weeks while patients with HMZ FH require weekly therapy. Heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation also produces small transient decreases in HDL-C, however levels generally return to baseline within 2 days. After several months of therapy, long-term reductions in LDL-C and increases in HDL-C have been reported.
In addition to having an impact on plasma cholesterol concentrations, HELP lowers plasma fibrinogen, a risk factor for atherosclerosis, and reduces concentrations of cellular adhesion molecules, which play a role in early atherogenesis.
In comparison with PE, HELP LDL apheresis does not have major effects on essential plasma proteins and does not require replacement fluid, thus decreasing susceptibility to infections. One study noted that adverse events were documented in 2.9% of LDL apheresis treatments using the HELP system compared with 12% using PE. As per the manufacturer, patients must weigh at least 30kgs to be eligible for treatment with HELP.
Regulatory Status
The H.E.L.P.® System (B.Braun Medizintechnologie GmbH, Germany) has been licensed by Health Canada since December 2000 as a Class 3 medical device (Licence # 26023) for performing LDL apheresis to acutely remove LDL from the plasma of 3 high-risk patient populations for whom diet has been ineffective and maximum drug therapy has either been ineffective or not tolerated. The 3 patient groups are as follows:
Functional hypercholesterolemic homozygotes with LDL-C >500 mg/dL (>13mmol/L);
Functional hypercholesterolemic heterozygotes with LDL-C >300 mg/dL (>7.8mmol/L);
Functional hypercholesterolemic heterozygotes with LDL-C >200 mg/dL (>5.2mmol/L) and documented CAD
No other LDL apheresis system is currently licensed in Canada.
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat systematically reviewed the literature to assess the effectiveness and safety of LDL apheresis performed with the HELP system for the treatment of patients with refractory HMZ and HTZ FH. A standard search methodology was used to retrieve international health technology assessments and English-language journal articles from selected databases.
The GRADE approach was used to systematically and explicitly make judgments about the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations.
Summary of Findings
The search identified 398 articles published from January 1, 1998 to May 30, 2007. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Five case series, 2 case series nested within comparative studies, and one retrospective review, were included in the analysis. A health technology assessment conducted by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, and a review by the United States Food and Drug Administration were also included.
Large heterogeneity among the studies was observed. Studies varied in inclusion criteria, baseline patient characteristics and methodology.
Overall, the mean acute1 relative decrease in LDL-C with HELP LDL apheresis ranged from 53 to 77%. The mean acute relative reductions ranged as follows: total cholesterol (TC) 47 to 64%, HDL-C +0.4 to -29%, triglycerides (TG) 33 to 62%, Lp(a) 55 to 68% and fibrinogen 56 to 65%.
The mean chronic2 relative decreases in LDL-C and TC with HELP LDL apheresis ranged from 9 to 46% and 5 to 34%, respectively. Familial hypercholesterolemia patients treated with HELP did not achieve the target LDL-C value set by international guidelines (LDL-C < 2.5mmol/L, 100mg/dL). The chronic mean relative increase in HDL-C ranged from 12 to 27%. The ratio of LDL:HDL and the ratio of TC:HDL are 2 measures that have been shown to be important risk factors for cardiac events. In high-risk patients, the recommended target LDL:HDL ratio is less than or equal to 2, and the target TC:HDL ratio is less than 4. In the studies that reported chronic lipid changes, the LDL:HDL and TC:HDL ratios exceeded targeted values.
Three studies investigated the effects of HELP on coronary outcomes and atherosclerotic changes. One noted that twice as many lesions displayed regression in comparison to those displaying progression. The second study found that there was a decrease in Agatston scores3 and in the volume of coronary calcium. The last study noted that 2 of 5 patients showed regression of coronary atherosclerosis, and 3 of the 5 patients showed no change as assessed by a global change score.
Adverse effects were typically mild and transient, and the majority of events were related to problems with vascular access. Of the 3 studies that provided quantitative information, the proportion of adverse events ranged from 2.9 to 5.1%.
GRADE Quality of Evidence
In general, studies were of low quality, i.e., case series studies (Tables 1-3). No controlled studies were identified and no studies directly compared the effectiveness of the HELP system with PE or with diet and drug therapy. Conducting trials with a sufficiently large control group would not have been feasible or acceptable given that HELP represents a last alternative in these patients who are resistant to conventional therapeutic strategies.
A major limitation is that there is limited evidence on the effectiveness and safety of HELP apheresis in HMZ FH patients. However, it is unlikely that better-quality evidence will become available, given that HMZ FH is rare and LDL apheresis is a last therapeutic option for these patients.
Lastly, there is limited data on the long-term effects of LDL apheresis in FH patients. No studies with HELP were identified that examined long-term outcomes such as survival and cardiovascular events. The absence of this data may be attributed to the rarity of the condition, and the large number of subjects and long duration of follow-up that would be needed to conduct such trials.
Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia - Lipid Outcomes
Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia - Lipid Outcomes
Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia - Coronary Artery Disease Outcomes
Economic Analysis
A budget-impact analysis was conducted to forecast future costs for PE and HELP apheresis in FH patients. All costs are reported in Canadian dollars. Based on epidemiological data of 13 HMZ, 115 diagnosed HTZ and 765 cases of all HTZ patients (diagnosed + undiagnosed), the annual cost of weekly treatment was estimated to be $488,025, $4,332,227 and $24,758,556 respectively for PE. For HELP apheresis, the annual cost of weekly treatment was estimated to be $1,025,338, $9,156,209 and $60,982,579 respectively. Costs for PE and HELP apheresis were halved with a biweekly treatment schedule.
The cost per coronary artery disease death avoided over a 10-year period in HTZ FH-diagnosed patients was also calculated and estimated to be $37.5 million and $18.7 million for weekly and biweekly treatment respectively, when comparing HELP apheresis with PE and with no intervention. Although HELP apheresis costs twice as much as PE, it helped to avoid 12 deaths compared with PE and 22 deaths compared with no intervention, over a period of 10 years.
Ontario Health System Impact Analysis
Low-density lipoprotein apheresis using the HELP system is currently being funded by the provinces of Quebec and Alberta. The program in Quebec has been in operation since 2001 and is limited to the treatment of HMZ FH patients. The Alberta program is relatively new and is currently treating HMZ FH patients, but it is expanding to include refractory HTZ FH patients.
Low-density lipoprotein apheresis is a lifelong treatment and requires considerable commitment on the part of the patient, and the patient’s family and physician. In addition, the management of FH continues to evolve. With the advent of new more powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs, some HTZ patients may be able to sufficiently control their hypercholesterolemia. Nevertheless, according to clinical experts, HMZ patients will likely always require LDL apheresis.
Given the substantial costs associated with LDL apheresis, treatment has been limited to HMZ FH patients. However, LDL apheresis could be applied to a much larger population, which would include HTZ FH patients who are refractory to diet and drug therapy. HTZ FH patients are generally recruited in a more advanced state, demonstrate a longer natural survival than HMZ FH patients and are older.
For HMZ FH patients, the benefits of LDL apheresis clearly outweigh the risks and burdens. According to GRADE, the recommendation would be graded as strong, with low- to very low-quality evidence (Table 4).
In both HMZ and HTZ FH patients, there is evidence of overall clinical benefit of LDL apheresis from case series studies. Low-density lipoprotein apheresis has several advantages over the current treatment of PE, including decreased exposure to blood products, decreased risk of adverse events, conservation of nonatherogenic and athero-protective components, such as HDL-C and lowering of other atherogenic components, such as fibrinogen.
In contrast to HMZ FH patients, there remains a lot of uncertainty in the social/ethical acceptance of this technology for the treatment of refractory HTZ FH patients. In addition to the substantial costs, it is unknown whether the current health care system could cope with the additional demand. There is uncertainty in the estimates of benefits, risks and burdens. According to GRADE, the recommendation would be graded as weak with low- to very-low-quality evidence (Table 5).
GRADE Recommendation - Homozygous Patients
GRADE of recommendation: Strong recommendation, low-quality or very-low-quality evidence
Benefits clearly outweigh risk and burdens
Case series study designs
Strong, but may change when higher-quality evidence becomes available
GRADE Recommendation - Heterozygous Patients
GRADE of recommendation: Weak recommendation, low-quality or very-low-quality evidence
Uncertainty in the estimates of benefits, risks and burden, which these may be closely balanced
Case series study designs
Very weak; other alternatives may be equally reasonable
PMCID: PMC3377562  PMID: 23074505
16.  Atherogenic Dyslipidemia and Residual Vascular Risk in Practice of Family Doctor 
Medical Archives  2015;69(5):339-341.
Timely recognition and optimal management of atherogenic dyslipidemia (AD) and residual vascular risk (RVR) in family medicine.
The global increase of the incidence of obesity is accompanied by an increase in the incidence of many metabolic and lipoprotein disorders, in particular AD, as an typical feature of obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and diabetes type 2. AD is an important factor in cardio metabolic risk, and is characterized by a lipoprotein profile with low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), high levels of triglycerides (TG) and high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Standard cardiometabolic risk assessment using the Framingham risk score and standard treatment with statins is usually sufficient, but not always that effective, because it does not reduce RVR that is attributed to elevated TG and reduced HDL cholesterol. RVR is subject to reduction through lifestyle changes or by pharmacological interventions. In some studies it was concluded that dietary interventions should aim to reduce the intake of calories, simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, with the goal of reaching cardiometabolic suitability, rather than weight reduction. Other studies have found that the reduction of carbohydrates in the diet or weight loss can alleviate AD changes, while changes in intake of total or saturated fat had no significant influence. In our presented case, a lifestyle change was advised as a suitable diet with reduced intake of carbohydrates and a moderate physical activity of walking for at least 180 minutes per week, with an recommendation for daily intake of calories alignment with the total daily (24-hour) energy expenditure (24-EE), depending on the degree of physical activity, type of food and the current health condition. Such lifestyle changes together with combined medical therapy with Statins, Fibrates and Omega-3 fatty acids, resulted in significant improvement in atherogenic lipid parameters.
Unsuitable atherogenic nutrition and insufficient physical activity are the new risk factors characteristic for AD. Nutritional interventions such as diet with reduced intake of carbohydrates and calories, moderate physical activity, combined with pharmacotherapy can improve atherogenic dyslipidemic profile and lead to loss of weight. Although one gram of fat release twice more kilo calories compared to carbohydrates, carbohydrates seems to have a greater atherogenic potential, which should be explored in future.
PMCID: PMC4639368  PMID: 26622090
atherogenic dyslipidemia; residual vascular risk; lifestyle changes; statins; fibrates; omega-3 fatty acids
17.  Management of dyslipidemias with fibrates, alone and in combination with statins: role of delayed-release fenofibric acid 
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) represents the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Lifestyle modifications, along with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) reduction, remain the highest priorities in CVD risk management. Among lipid-lowering agents, statins are most effective in LDL-C reduction and have demonstrated incremental benefits in CVD risk reduction. However, in light of the residual CVD risk, even after LDL-C targets are achieved, there is an unmet clinical need for additional measures. Fibrates are well known for their beneficial effects in triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and LDL-C subspecies modulation. Fenofibrate is the most commonly used fibric acid derivative, exerts beneficial effects in several lipid and nonlipid parameters, and is considered the most suitable fibrate to combine with a statin. However, in clinical practice this combination raises concerns about safety. ABT-335 (fenofibric acid, Trilipix®) is the newest formulation designed to overcome the drawbacks of older fibrates, particularly in terms of pharmacokinetic properties. It has been extensively evaluated both as monotherapy and in combination with atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, and simvastatin in a large number of patients with mixed dyslipidemia for up to 2 years and appears to be a safe and effective option in the management of dyslipidemia.
PMCID: PMC2922314  PMID: 20730069
atherogenic dyslipidemia; cardiovascular disease prevention; lipid-lowering treatment; fenofibric acid; statins
18.  The influence of statin-fibrate combination therapy on lipids profile and apolipoprotein A5 in patients with acute coronary syndrome 
Statin-fibrate combination therapy has been used to treat patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) complicated by elevated triglycerides (TG) and decreased high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of the combination therapy on lipids profile and apolipoprotein A5 (apoA5) level in patients with ACS.
One hundred and four patients with ACS were recruited and randomly assigned into two groups: one was statin group (n = 52), given atorvastatin (20 mg QN) or other statins with equivalent dosages; the other was combination group (n = 52), given the same dose of statin plus bezafibrate (200 mg BID). Follow-up visits were scheduled at the end of 6 and 12 weeks post treatment. Serum apoA5 levels were determined using a commercial available ELISA kit.
(1) Compared with that of statin monotherapy, statin-bezafibrate combination treatment not only resulted in a significant reduction of TG, TC and LDL-C levels, (all p < 0.05), but also led to increases in HDL-C and apoA5 levels (p < 0.05).
(2) The percentage changes of TC, TG, LDL-C and apoA5 levels in both groups were even bigger at 12 weeks after treatment than that at 6 weeks (all p < 0.05). Similarly, the rates of achieving lipid-control target were higher in statin-bezafibrate combination treatment group than those in statin monotherapy group (all p < 0.05).
(3) Spearman rank correlation analysis showed that the pre-treatment apoA5 level was positively correlated with TG (r = 0.359, p = 0.009). However, a negative correlation was observed between apoA5 and TG (r = -0.329, p = 0.017) after 12 weeks treatment.
Statin and fibrate combination therapy is more effective than statin alone in achieving a comprehensive lipid control for ACS patients. Serum apoA5 elevation after statin and fibrate combination treatment could be due to the synergistic effect of both drugs on hypertriglyceridemia control.
PMCID: PMC3850707  PMID: 24016248
Apolipoprotein A5; Triglyceride; Statin; Fibrate; Acute coronary syndrome
19.  Dual and pan-peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) co-agonism: the bezafibrate lessons 
There are three peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) subtypes which are commonly designated PPAR alpha, PPAR gamma and PPAR beta/delta. PPAR alpha activation increases high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol synthesis, stimulates "reverse" cholesterol transport and reduces triglycerides. PPAR gamma activation results in insulin sensitization and antidiabetic action. Until recently, the biological role of PPAR beta/delta remained unclear. However, treatment of obese animals by specific PPAR delta agonists results in normalization of metabolic parameters and reduction of adiposity. Combined treatments with PPAR gamma and alpha agonists may potentially improve insulin resistance and alleviate atherogenic dyslipidemia, whereas PPAR delta properties may prevent the development of overweight which typically accompanies "pure" PPAR gamma ligands. The new generation of dual-action PPARs – the glitazars, which target PPAR-gamma and PPAR-alpha (like muraglitazar and tesaglitazar) are on deck in late-stage clinical trials and may be effective in reducing cardiovascular risk, but their long-term clinical effects are still unknown. A number of glitazars have presented problems at a late stage of clinical trials because of serious side-effects (including ragaglitazar and farglitazar). The old and well known lipid-lowering fibric acid derivative bezafibrate is the first clinically tested pan – (alpha, beta/delta, gamma) PPAR activator. It is the only pan-PPAR activator with more than a quarter of a century of therapeutic experience with a good safety profile. Therefore, bezafibrate could be considered (indeed, as a "post hoc" understanding) as an "archetype" of a clinically tested pan-PPAR ligand. Bezafibrate leads to considerable raising of HDL cholesterol and reduces triglycerides, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood glucose level, significantly lowering the incidence of cardiovascular events and new diabetes in patients with features of metabolic syndrome. Clinical evidences obtained from bezafibrate-based studies strongly support the concept of pan-PPAR therapeutic approach to conditions which comprise the metabolic syndrome. However, from a biochemical point of view, bezafibrate is a PPAR ligand with a relatively low potency. More powerful new compounds with pan-PPAR activity and proven long-term safety should be highly effective in a clinical setting of patients with coexisting relevant lipid and glucose metabolism disorders.
PMCID: PMC1236941  PMID: 16168052
20.  Update on the clinical utility of fenofibrate in mixed dyslipidemias: mechanisms of action and rational prescribing 
Mixed dyslipidemia is a common lipid disorder characterized by the presence of an atherogenic lipoprotein phenotype due to abnormalities in various atherogenic and anti-atherogenic lipoproteins. Despite the link between the decrease of LDL-cholesterol by statin treatment and the prevention of cardiovascular disease, a high residual risk is observed in statin trials. This residual risk is partly explained by lipoprotein abnormalities other than LDL. Fenofibrate exerts a favorable effect on the atherogenic lipid profile of mixed dyslipidemia and can effectively reduce cardiovascular disease in patients with mixed dyslipidemia. Fenofibrate may offer important treatment alternatives as a second-line therapy in several circumstances: in combination with a statin for patients with mixed dyslipidemias not at goals on statin mono-therapy; in monotherapy for patients intolerant or with contraindication to statin therapy; and in combination with other drugs (ezetimibe, colesevelam) for patients with mixed dyslipidemias, known intolerance, or contraindication to statin and not at goals on fenofibrate monotherapy. However, the role of fenofibrate-statin therapy and of other therapies involving fenofibrate in cardiovascular risk reduction strategies remains to be established.
PMCID: PMC2605343  PMID: 19183747
fenofibrate; mixed dyslipidemia; triglycerides; LDL-cholesterol; HDL-cholesterol
21.  Update on the use of fibrates: focus on bezafibrate 
Low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) is a well established coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factor. However, the ability of this metabolic risk factor alone to identify individuals at rigk for future CHD events is limited. The raised triglycerides-low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) dyslipidaemia was shown to be an important cardiovascular risk factor independently of LDL-C levels. Fibric acid derivatives (fibrates) have been used in clinical practice for more than 2 decades as a class of agents known to decrease triglyceride levels while substantially increasing HDL-C levels. Through peroxisome proliferator-activated α-receptors, fibrates have a significant impact on the synthesis of several apolipoproteins and enzymes of lipoprotein metabolism as well as on the expression of several genes involved in fibrinolysis and inflammation. Data from recent primary and secondary prevention clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of fibrate therapy in patients with the raised triglycerides-low HDL-C dyslipidaemia. This review summarizes current data regarding mechanism of action and the metbolic effects of fibrates, as well as results from major clinical trials on the efficacy of this mode of lipid lowering therapy. In addition, recent data from subgroup analyses of the Bezafibrate Infarction Prevention trial, demonstrating several important metabolic and long-term cardiovascular effects of bezafibrate therapy, are detailed.
PMCID: PMC2464751  PMID: 18629356
fibrates; high-density lipoprotein-cholsterol; metabolic syndrome; peroxisome proliferator-activated α-receptors; cardiac events
22.  Diabetes: managing dyslipidaemia 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2008;2008:0610.
Dyslipidaemia is a major contributor to the increased risk of heart disease found in people with diabetes. An increase of 1 mmol/L LDL-C is associated with a 1.57-fold increase in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in people with type 2 diabetes. A diagnosis of diabetic dyslipidaemia requiring pharmacological treatment is determined by the person's lipid profile and level of cardiovascular risk.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of interventions for dyslipidaemia in people with diabetes? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2007 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 21 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: anion exchange resins, combined treatments (for lipid modification), ezetimibe, fibrates, fish oil (for lipid modification), intensive multiple intervention treatment programmes (for lipid modification), nicotinic acid (for lipid modification), and statins.
Key Points
Dyslipidaemia is characterised by decreased circulating levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and increased circulating levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Dyslipidaemia is a major contributor to the increased risk of heart disease found in people with diabetes.An increase of 1 mmol/L LDL-C is associated with a 1.57-fold increase in the risk of CHD in people with type 2 diabetes.A diagnosis of diabetic dyslipidaemia requiring pharmacological treatment is determined by the person's lipid profile and level of cardiovascular risk. The classification of cardiovascular risk and lipid targets for drug treatment differ between the USA and the UK, and the rest of Europe. We used the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) risk calculator to estimate 10-year cardiovascular risk, and categorised a 15% or more risk as "higher risk", and 15% or less as "lower risk" according to the UK clinical guidelines. We found no RCTs of a solely lower-risk population, although some studies were excluded because of insufficient data to calculate risk. In clinical practice, most people with diabetes are increasingly considered at high cardiovascular risk, regardless of the presence or absence of other risk factors.
Statins are highly effective at improving cardiovascular outcomes in people with diabetes. Statins reduce cardiovascular mortality in people with type 2 diabetes with and without known CVD, and regardless of baseline total and LDL-C concentrations.Different statins seem to have similar efficacy at reducing LDL-C.
Combining statins with other treatments (such as ezetimibe or a fibrate) seems to reduce LDL-C more than statin treatments alone. Combinations could be useful in people with mixed dyslipidaemia where one drug fails to control all lipid parameters.
Fibrates seem to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular mortality and morbidity by reducing triglyceride levels. In people with mixed dyslipidaemia, statins may also be required.
Intensive-treatment programmes involving multiple interventions (people seen by a nurse every 4-6 weeks) seem better at reducing cholesterol than usual-care programmes.
Fish oils may reduce triglyceride levels, but also seem to increase LDL-C levels, making them of limited benefit to most diabetic patients.
Nicotinic acid seems effective at increasing HDL-C and may reduce triglycerides. However, in clinical practice, nicotinic acid alone is not the preferred treatment for hypertriglyceridaemia, but may be used in combination with a statin in people with mixed dyslipidaemia, or in those unable to tolerate fibrates. Nicotinic acid seems to increase the incidence of flushing, particularly in female patients.
We don't know whether anion exchange resins or ezetimibe are useful in treating dyslipidaemia in people with diabetes, but they could be used in combination with a statin if the statin alone fails to achieve lipid targets.
PMCID: PMC2907966  PMID: 19450295
23.  A review on the rationale and clinical use of concomitant rosuvastatin and fenofibrate/fenofibric acid therapy 
Mixed dyslipidemia, characterized by a lipid triad of elevated triglycerides (TG), elevated low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and reduced high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), is a common and frequently difficult to manage condition. The use of combination medications is often needed to effectively treat the lipid triad. The co-administration of statins and fibrates may provide the desired endpoints but safety issues such as toxicity to the muscles, liver and kidneys are a concern. Given the potency of rosuvastatin to lower LDL-C and fenofibrate’s effectiveness in lowering TG, the use of this specific combination may be desirable in treating mixed dyslipidemia. Pharmacokinetic studies revealed no significant interactions with the concomitant use of rosuvastatin and fenofibrate or its active metabolite fenofibric acid. Clinical studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of this combination therapy demonstrate significant reductions in TG and LDL-C levels, and elevations in HDL-C. Safety data from clinical trials reveal no major adverse reactions. However, case reports of adverse events have been published and monitoring for potential adverse reactions of the individual agents is advised. Overall, current data suggest the combination of rosuvastatin and fenofibrate or fenofibric acid is a safe combination to utilize when managing difficult to treat mixed dyslipidemia patients.
PMCID: PMC3262365  PMID: 22291492
dyslipidemia; rosuvastatin; fenofibrate; fenofibric acid
24.  Saroglitazar for the treatment of hypertrig-lyceridemia in patients with type 2 diabetes: current evidence 
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most dreaded metabolic disorders in the world today. It is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, and plays a cardinal role in quality of life and health economics. DM is associated with a high prevalence of microvascular and macrovascular complications. DM is a very important cardiovascular (CV) risk factor. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been implicated as the prime cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with DM. Hence, treatment of DM goes beyond glycemic control, and demands a multidisciplinary approach that comprehensively targets risk factors inherent in CV events. Lipid abnormalities are undoubtedly common in patients with DM, and they contribute to an increased risk of CVD. A high-risk lipid profile, termed atherogenic dyslipidemia of diabetes (ADD), is known to occur in patients with DM. The use of lipid-lowering agents, a quintessential part of the multifactorial risk factor approach, is a crucial intervention to minimize diabetes-related complications. In this article, we discuss the role of peroxisome proliferator activator receptor (PPAR) alpha/gamma (α/γ) agonist, saroglitazar, in the management of ADD. While statins are irrefutably the first line of drugs for dyslipidemia management in patients with residual CV risk while on a statin, PPAR α/γ agonists have been found to be of substantial benefit. Data from the PRESS I–VI clinical trials testify to the fact that saroglitazar and fibrates have similar efficacy in reducing triglycerides and improving high-density lipoprotein. The ancillary benefit of improved glycemic control, without the weight gain of PPAR γ agonists, is an added advantage. Reduction in ADD, improved glycemic control, efficacy at par with fibrates, and an acceptable safety profile form the grounds on which this group of PPAR α/γ agonists, with their novel mechanism, holds a promising future in the management of diabetic dyslipidemia.
PMCID: PMC4403747  PMID: 25926748
diabetes mellitus; dyslipidemia; cardiovascular disease; atherosclerosis; PPAR α/γ agonists
25.  Effect of fibrate treatment on liver function tests in patients with the metabolic syndrome 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:14.
Fibrates are used especially in patients with hypertriglyceridaemia, a feature of the metabolic syndrome. Elevated LFTs are often observed in these patients perhaps related to fatty infiltration.
We wished to study changes seen in LFTs (GGT, ALT and ALP) following fibrate therapy and then determine associated factors.
This was a retrospective observational study in which data was collected from case notes of patients started on fibrates (n = 118, 2002–2008) in the lipid clinic at Good Hope Hospital and pre/post-fibrate lipid and LFT values were obtained. All biochemistry was performed on the Roche P-Unit using supplied reagents. Statistical analyses included t tests and regression analyses (factorised when quartiles were compared).
Of the study population 106 patients were on fenofibrate; the remaining on bezafibrate. Significant lowering of GGT (p < 0.0001), ALT (p = 0.0014) and ALP (p < 0.0001) levels were observed following fibrate treatment. Baseline lipid (cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL) concentrations, alcohol intake, length of treatment, gender, concurrent statin treatment and diabetes did not correlate with these changes in LFT in a multiple regression analysis. Higher pre-fibrate GGT (p < 0.0001), ALT (p < 0.0001) and ALP (p < 0.0001) concentrations were associated with larger decreases in each of these tests respectively with the highest 2 quartiles (GGT > 57 IU/l, ALT > 34 IU/l and ALP > 94 IU/l) significantly different to the lowest quartile. The above associations remained significant even when the regression analyses were corrected for changes in lipid values (which did not show an association).
Fibrate treatment led to improvements in LFT, the greatest benefit seen in patients with higher baseline LFT values. It appears that baseline and changes in lipid values post fibrate treatment were not associated with change in LFT.
PMCID: PMC3893320  PMID: 24455467
Fibrates; GGT; ALT; ALP; PPARα; Metabolic syndrome; Statins

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