Hypolipidemic therapy for the metabolic syndrome.

Pharmacol Res. 2006 Jun;53(6):492-500. Epub 2006 Mar 27.  

Cignarella A, Bellosta S, Corsini A, Bolego C.
Department of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milan, via G. Balzaretti 9, I-20133 Milan, Italy; Department of Pharmacology and Anaesthesiology, University of Padua, Largo Meneghetti 2, 35121 Padua, Italy. 

The metabolic syndrome appears to affect a significant proportion of the population and is associated with increased risk for development of cardiovascular disease as well as of type-2 diabetes. No single treatment for the metabolic syndrome as a whole yet exists. While the primary management of patients with the metabolic syndrome involves healthy lifestyle promotion, the atherogenic dyslipidemia is a primary target for cardiovascular disease risk reduction in these patients. Statin therapy provides effective reduction of LDL-cholesterol, which represents the primary therapeutic goal of lipid-lowering therapy in patients at risk for cardiovascular disease. Fibrates in turn are effective in normalizing lipid levels (mainly triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol) in patients with the metabolic syndrome and may improve insulin resistance. Whereas statins remain the drug of choice for patients who need to achieve the LDL-cholesterol goal, fibrate therapy may represent an alternative for those with low HDL-cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. The simultaneous use of fibrates could be indicated in patients whose LDL-cholesterol is controlled by statin therapy but whose HDL-cholesterol and/or triglycerides are still inappropriate. Such a combination, however, needs careful monitoring due to the potential hazard of adverse drug interactions. Nicotinic acid and ezetimibe may be useful agents for therapy, particularly when combined with statins. A number of emerging therapies offer potential as future options for the pharmacological treatment of metabolic syndrome.