The efficacy of fenofibrate (FEN), rosiglitazone (RSG), or a calorie-restricted diet (CRD) to reduce cardiovascular disease risk was compared in 37 overweight/obese insulin-resistant nondiabetic subjects. Insulin sensitivity, fasting lipids and lipoproteins, and postprandial plasma glucose, insulin, free fatty acid, and triglycerides were measured before and after 3 months of treatment with FEN, RSG, or CRD. Weight decreased in the CRD group, but did not change significantly after treatment with either drug. Insulin sensitivity improved significantly in the CRD- and RSG-treated groups, but to a greater extent in those administered RSG, without a significant difference comparing FEN treatment with the CRD. Total cholesterol was significantly lower after FEN and CRD treatment. Fasting plasma triglycerides decreased significantly in the FEN- and CRD-treated groups, but postprandial concentrations decreased in only FEN-treated subjects. Significant decreases in postprandial glucose and insulin were seen in only the RSG- and CRD-treated groups. FEN administration improved dyslipidemia in these subjects without changing insulin sensitivity, whereas insulin sensitivity was enhanced in RSG-treated patients without improvement in dyslipidemia. Weight loss in the CRD group led to improvements in both insulin sensitivity and dyslipidemia, but the change in the former was less than in RSG-treated patients, and improvement in lipid metabolism not as great as with FEN. In conclusion, there did not appear to be 1 therapeutic intervention that effectively treated all metabolic abnormalities present in these patients at greatly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.