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Combination treatment with atorvastatin plus niacin provides effective control of complex dyslipidemias: a literature review.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Postgraduate medicine
Publication Date
Volume
124
Issue
1
Pages
7–20
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3810/pgm.2012.01.2513
PMID: 22314110
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Patients with dyslipidemia receive a cardiovascular benefit from lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Atorvastatin is currently one of the most effective approved medications for lowering LDL-C, and has been shown to significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in many patient groups. However, even with substantial lowering of LDL-C with atorvastatin, patients still have a residual risk for coronary heart disease. Elevated triglyceride levels and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels may contribute to this risk. Approved medications targeting these secondary lipid parameters include fibrates, omega-3 fatty acids, and niacin. Among these medications, niacin provides the optimal increase in HDL-C levels and has efficacy similar to the other medications in lowering triglyceride levels. However, there are challenges to adherence with niacin treatment. The most common challenge during niacin treatment is flushing, although it typically decreases with ongoing use and can be ameliorated by pretreatment with aspirin and counseling by the prescriber. A combination of atorvastatin and niacin may provide more complete normalization of the lipid profile and increased cardiovascular benefits. A literature review of the PubMed and Embase databases was conducted for clinical studies that reported on the lipid-modifying efficacy of the atorvastatin plus niacin combination. Identified studies involved patients at risk for coronary heart disease and patients with established coronary heart disease. Overall, the studies were small but indicated that atorvastatin in combination with niacin was efficacious in normalizing lipid parameters. Larger lipid studies as well as studies evaluating cardiovascular outcomes during atorvastatin plus niacin treatment are warranted.

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