DEC 28, 2016 7:42 PM PST

Pairing Statins with Another Drug to Prevent Heart Attack

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

There are two different types of cholesterol in the body, considered to be good and bad, and there are two different drugs to alter their levels in the body: statin drugs lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – “bad” cholesterol levels and fenofibrate increases the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – “good” cholesterol. In a new study, scientists looked for the first time at the potential dual effect of using both drugs to prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

Source: AARP

Fenofibrate is already used to reduce blood levels of triglycerides and increase HDL. Both high levels of triglycerides (fat) and low levels of HDL lead to atherosclerotic plaque buildup in the blood vessels, and treatment with fenofibrate can reduce that risk.

Statins are commonly used to lower blood pressure but don't influence triglyceride and HDL levels like fenofibrate can. The drug lowers blood pressure by reducing LDL levels by blocking a substance required for the production of cholesterol and by helping the body reabsorb cholesterol. The action of statin drugs is vital for the prevention of vessel blockages that can cause heart attacks.

In combination with statins, could fenofibrate reduce the risk of heart disease in individuals with type two diabetes, who are already at an increased risk for cardiovascular problems due to high triglycerides, low HDL? Results from the recent study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) seem to show that the two drugs could be successful in this mission.

Researchers followed more than four thousand patients for five years after a 2009 clinical trial involving administration of the two drugs. So far, the results suggest that fenofibrate and statin therapy together is in fact capable of reducing the risk of dangerous cardiac events for diabetics. The findings were promising enough that scientists plan on continuing with a new, randomized study to confirm the effect.

This study was recently published in JAMA Cardiology.

Source: NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 15, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 15, 2020
Burnout May Cause Heart Problems
At least 2.7 million Americans are affected by the most common variety of irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillat ...
JAN 15, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 15, 2020
Women's Blood Vessels Age Faster than Men's, Study shows
Around 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, or roughly 1 in every 3 adults. Now, new research has shown that w ...
APR 09, 2020
Health & Medicine
APR 09, 2020
Middle-Aged Women Have Time to Reduce Stroke Risk
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women are generally more likely than men to have a stroke, die from s ...
APR 18, 2020
Cardiology
APR 18, 2020
Is Good Sleep Necessary for a Healthy Heart?
Over 50 million Americans reportedly have trouble sleeping. As research is increasingly finding that having a good night ...
APR 22, 2020
Cardiology
APR 22, 2020
COVID-19 Connected to an Increase Occurrence of Blood Clots
COVID-19 linked to cardiac issues  
JUN 04, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JUN 04, 2020
How Does Recent Cannabis Use Affect Your Risk of Stroke?
Does cannabis use influence stroke risk? Some research says yes; some says no. These “conflicting results” f ...
Loading Comments...