Dyslipidaemia in diabetic patients: time for a rethink.Diabetes Obes Metab. 2007 Sep; 9(5):609-16.DO
Patients with type 2 diabetes have a marked increase in the risk of premature coronary heart disease (CHD). One of the underlying reasons for this increased risk is atherogenic dyslipidaemia, which is common in this patient group and characterized by low plasma levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), increased levels of serum triglycerides, specifically very low-density lipoprotein triglycerides, and an increase in small, dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles. Current management strategies focus on the initial use of statin or fibrate therapy (the latter approach indicated in patients with pronounced hypertriglyceridaemia). Recent treatment guidelines also emphasize the need for reduction in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) below 100 mg/dl (2.6 mmol/l) in diabetic patients, as this patient group has a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors that collectively lead to an excess risk of premature mortality. Multidrug lipid-modifying therapy has been proposed to further reduce CHD risk in diabetic patients. Adding nicotinic acid to primary statin therapy would be a logical approach based on the complementary therapeutic benefits of these treatments. Nicotinic acid is the most potent agent currently available for raising HDL-C and is also effective in reducing triglycerides and LDL-C. Moreover, clinical trial data have shown that nicotinic acid can be safely used in diabetic patients. Data from the Arterial Biology for the Investigation of the Treatment Effects of Reducing Cholesterol (ARBITER 2) study in patients with established CHD and low HDL-C (27% of whom had type 2 diabetes) show the atheroprotective effects of nicotinic acid/statin combination therapy. The clinical benefits of this combination therapy are indicated by subgroup analyses from the HDL-Atherosclerosis Treatment Study, which showed 40% reduction in coronary event frequency in patients with impaired glucose tolerance. Together, these data support the proposed strategy of aggressive multidrug treatment of diabetic dyslipidaemia to improve patient outcome.