Managing the residual cardiovascular disease risk associated with HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides in statin-treated patients: a clinical update

Z Reiner
Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases: NMCD 2013, 23 (9): 799-807
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a significant cause of death in Europe. In addition to patients with proven CVD, those with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at a particularly high-risk of CVD and associated mortality. Treatment for dyslipidaemia, a principal risk factor for CVD, remains a healthcare priority; evidence supports the reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) as the primary objective of dyslipidaemia management. While statins are the treatment of choice for lowering LDL-C in the majority of patients, including those with T2D, many patients retain a high CVD risk despite achieving the recommended LDL-C targets with statins. This 'residual risk' is mainly due to elevated triglyceride (TG) and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Following statin therapy optimisation additional pharmacotherapy should be considered as part of a multifaceted approach to risk reduction. Fibrates (especially fenofibrate) are the principal agents recommended for add-on therapy to treat elevated TG or low HDL-C levels. Currently, the strongest evidence of benefit is for the addition of fenofibrate to statin treatment in high-risk patients with T2D and dyslipidaemia. An alternative approach is the addition of agents to reduce LDL-C beyond the levels attainable with statin monotherapy. Here, addition of fibrates and niacin to statin therapy is discussed, and novel approaches being developed for HDL-C and TG management, including cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors, Apo A-1 analogues, mipomersen, lomitapide and monoclonal antibodies against PCSK9, are reviewed.

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