Effects of lovastatin and gemfibrozil in subjects with high ratios of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol

Y J Hung, D Pei, D A Wu, S W Kuo, M M Fuh, C Jeng
Journal of the Formosan Medical Association 1999, 98 (2): 104-10
Insulin resistance is associated with hypertriglyceridemia, low serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations and high serum total cholesterol (TC) to HDL-C ratios. Several reports have demonstrated that either lovastatin or gemfibrozil may favorably lower serum lipid concentrations. However, their effects on insulin sensitivity are unknown. The primary aim of this study was to compare the effects of lovastatin and gemfibrozil on insulin sensitivity and serum leptin concentrations in subjects with high TC/HDL-C ratios. We enrolled 25 nondiabetic patients, similar in terms of age and weight with TC/HDL-C ratios greater than 5. Thirteen subjects were treated with lovastatin 20 mg per day, and 12 received gemfibrozil 300 mg twice per day. Plasma lipids, glucose, and leptin were measured, and a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and a modified insulin suppression test were performed before and after 3 months of treatment. The study showed the mean plasma TC, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations, and TC/HDL-C ratio were significantly reduced in the lovastatin-treated group, but no obvious effects on plasma triglyceride (TG) and HDL-C were noted. In the gemfibrozil group, plasma TG and HDL-C were markedly lowered, but no significantly different effects in other plasma lipids were found. Gemfibrozil did not affect steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentrations, whereas lovastatin significantly increased SSPG concentrations. Neither drug affected the serum leptin concentration during the OGTT. We conclude that lovastatin significantly lowers plasma TC and LDL-C ratio, and TC/HDL-C concentrations and adversely affects insulin sensitivity, while gemfibrozil markedly reduces plasma TG concentrations without altering insulin sensitivity in subjects with high TC/HDL-C ratios.

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