Micronised fenofibrate is a synthetic phenoxy-isobutyric acid derivative (fibric acid derivative) indicated for the treatment of dyslipidaemia. Recently, a new tablet formulation of micronised fenofibrate has become available with greater bioavailability than the older capsule formulation. The micronised fenofibrate 160mg tablet is bioequivalent to the 200mg capsule. The lipid-modifying profile of micronised fenofibrate 160mg (tablet) or 200mg (capsule) once daily is characterised by a decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and total cholesterol (TC) levels, a marked reduction in plasma triglyceride (TG) levels and an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Micronised fenofibrate 200mg (capsule) once daily produced greater improvements in TG and, generally, in HDL-C levels than the hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors simvastatin 10 or 20 mg/day, pravastatin 20 mg/day or atorvastatin 10 or 40 mg/day. Combination therapy with micronised fenofibrate 200mg (capsule) once daily plus fluvastatin 20 or 40 mg/day or atorvastatin 40 mg/day was associated with greater reductions from baseline than micronised fenofibrate alone in TC and LDL-C levels. Similar or greater changes in HDL-C and TG levels were seen in combination therapy, compared with monotherapy, recipients. Micronised fenofibrate 200mg (capsule) once daily was associated with significantly greater improvements from baseline in TC, LDL-C, HDL-C and TG levels than placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus enrolled in the double-blind, randomised Diabetes Atherosclerosis Intervention Study (DAIS) [> or =3 years follow-up]. Moreover, angiography showed micronised fenofibrate was associated with significantly less progression of coronary atherosclerosis than placebo. Micronised fenofibrate has also shown efficacy in patients with metabolic syndrome, patients with HIV infection and protease inhibitor-induced hypertriglyceridaemia and patients with dyslipidaemia secondary to heart transplantation. Micronised fenofibrate was generally well tolerated in clinical trials. The results of a large (n = 9884) 12-week study indicated that gastrointestinal disorders are the most frequent adverse events associated with micronised fenofibrate therapy. Elevations in serum transaminase and creatine phosphokinase levels have been reported rarely with micronised fenofibrate. In conclusion, micronised fenofibrate improves lipid levels in patients with primary dyslipidaemia; the drug has particular efficacy with regards to reducing TG levels and raising HDL-C levels. Micronised fenofibrate is also effective in diabetic dyslipidaemia; as well as improving lipid levels, the drug reduced progression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The results of large ongoing studies (e.g. FIELD with approximately 10 000 patients) will clarify whether the beneficial lipid-modifying effects of micronised fenofibrate result in a reduction in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.