Indexed on: 24 Dec '05Published on: 24 Dec '05Published in: Expert opinion on drug safety
Patients with the metabolic syndrome and/or Type 2 diabetes mellitus continue to have a high risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and progression of atherosclerotic lesions despite aggressive statin therapy. Although the National Cholesterol Education Programme Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines recommend the use of fibrates in combination with statins in patients at very high risk of CHD (e.g., patients at the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol target with high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, many physicians remain reluctant to use these combinations due to concerns of myotoxicity. Recently conducted metabolic and pharmacokinetic drug-drug interaction studies using gemfibrozil or fenofibrate in combination with five commonly used statins demonstrated a widely different drug interaction potential for these two fibrates. Gemfibrozil causes a 2- to 6-fold increase in statin area under the curve and increases the exposure to many recently approved drugs for the treatment of diabetes. Alternatively, fenofibrate does not adversely affect either the metabolism or pharmacokinetics of the statins studied. These pharmacokinetic differences appear to translate into less potential for interactions with fenofibrate/statin combination therapy compared to gemfibrozil/statin co-administration. The Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) study in 10,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus is testing the efficacy and safety of fenofibrate/statin combination.