Effects of adding fenofibrate (200 mg/day) to simvastatin (10 mg/day) in patients with combined hyperlipidemia and metabolic syndrome

Gloria L Vega, Patrick T S Ma, Nilo B. Cater, Neil Filipchuk, Shinichi Meguro, Ana Barbara Garcia-Garcia, Scott M Grundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Combined hyperlipidemia predisposes subjects to coronary heart disease. Two lipid abnormalities - increased cholesterol and atherogenic dyslipidemia - are potential targets of lipid-lowering therapy. Successful management of both may require combined drug therapy. Statins are effective low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol-lowering drugs. For atherogenic dyslipidemia (high triglycerides, small LDL, and low high-density lipoprotein [HDL]), fibrates are potentially beneficial. The present study was designed to examine the safety and efficacy of a combination of low-dose simvastatin and fenofibrate in the treatment of combined hyperlipidemia. It was a randomized, placebo-controlled trial with a crossover design. Three randomized phases were employed (double placebo, simvastatin 10 mg/day and placebo, and simvastatin 10 mg/day plus fenofibrate 200 mg/day). Each phase lasted 3 months, and in the last week of each phase, measurements were made of plasma lipids, lipoprotein cholesterol, plasma apolipoproteins B, C-II, and C-III and LDL speciation on 3 consecutive days. Simvastatin therapy decreased total cholesterol by 27%, non-HDL cholesterol by 30%, total apolipoprotein B by 31%, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) + intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) cholesterol by 37%, VLDL + IDL apolipoprotein B by 14%, LDL cholesterol by 28%, and LDL apolipoprotein B by 21%. The addition of fenofibrate caused an additional decrease in VLDL + IDL cholesterol and VLDL + IDL apolipoprotein B by 36% and 32%, respectively. Simvastatin alone caused a small increase in the ratio of large-to-small LDL, whereas the addition of fenofibrate to simvastatin therapy caused a marked increase in the ratio of large-to-small LDL species. Simvastatin alone produced a small (6%) and insignificant increase in HDL cholesterol concentrations. When fenofibrate was added to simvastatin therapy, HDL cholesterol increased significantly by 23%. No significant side effects were observed with either simvastatin alone or with combined drug therapy. Therefore, a combination of simvastatin 10 mg/day and fenofibrate 200 mg/day appears to be effective and safe for the treatment of atherogenic dyslipidemia in combined hyperlipidemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-960
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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