Background: The lipoprotein responses to conventional lipid-modifying drugs have not been adequately evaluated in normolipidemic patients with hypoalphalipoproteinemia (low levels of high-density lipoproteins). The purpose of this study was to compare responses to lovastatin, gemfibrozil, and nicotinic acid in such patients. Methods: The first phase of the study compared lipoprotein responses to lovastatin and gemfibrozil in 61 middle- aged men with low levels of high-density lipoproteins. In the second phase, 37 patients agreed to take nicotinic acid; 27 patients finished this phase at a dose of 4.5 g/d. Nicotinic acid results were compared with those with lovastatin and gemfibrozil in the same patients. Results: In the first phase, both drugs effectively lowered triglyceride levels. Gemfibrozil therapy increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by 10% and lovastatin by 6%, but lovastatin was much more effective for reducing low-density lipoprotein levels. Nicotinic acid did not significantly lower low-density lipoprotein levels in the second phase, but it raised high-density lipoprotein levels by 30%. Conclusions: Gemfibrozil therapy produced the least favorable response of the three drugs. Lovastatin markedly lowered low- density lipoprotein levels but only modestly raised levels of high-density lipoprotein, whereas nicotinic acid had the opposite effect. Consequently, the latter two drugs similarly reduced low-density lipoprotein-high-density lipoprotein ratios, although these effects were obtained in different ways. Between these two drugs, lovastatin therapy was more likely to reduce low- density lipoprotein cholesterol levels to below 2.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL), and in view of recent recommendations, it may be preferable to nicotinic acid for many normolipidemic patients with established coronary heart disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine