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Efficacy of extended-release niacin with lovastatin for hypercholesterolemia: assessing all reasonable doses with innovative surface graph analysis.

Author(s): Insull W Jr, McGovern ME, Schrott H, Thompson P, Crouse JR, Zieve F, Corbelli J

Affiliation(s): Lipid Research Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine and Methodist Hospital, 6560 Fannin Street, Suite 1150, Houston, TX 77030, USA. winsull@tcm

Publication date & source: 2004-05-24, Arch Intern Med., 164(10):1121-7.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Combination therapy to improve the total lipid profile may achieve greater coronary risk reductions than lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) alone. A new extended-release niacin (niacin ER)/lovastatin tablet substantially lowers LDL-C, triglyceride, and lipoprotein(a) levels and raises high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level. We evaluated these serum lipid responses to niacin ER/lovastatin at all clinically reasonable doses. METHODS: Men (n = 85) and women (n = 79) with type IIa or IIb primary hyperlipidemia after diet were randomized among 5 parallel treatment arms. Each arm had 5 sequential 4-week treatment periods: niacin ER (starting at 500 mg/d, increasing in 500-mg increments to 2500 mg/d); lovastatin (starting at 10 mg, increasing to 20 mg, then 40 mg/d); and 3 combinations arms, each with a constant lovastatin dose and escalating niacin ER doses. RESULTS: For primary comparisons, mean LDL-C level reductions from baseline were greater with niacin ER/lovastatin (1500/20 mg) than with lovastatin (20 mg) (35% vs 22%, P<.001) and with niacin ER/lovastatin (2000/40 mg) than with lovastatin (40 mg) (46% vs 24%, P<.001). Each 500-mg increase in niacin ER, on average, decreased LDL-C levels an additional 4% and increased HDL-C levels 8%. The maximum recommended dose (2000/40 mg/d) increased HDL-C levels 29% and decreased LDL-C levels 46%, triglyceride levels 38%, and lipoprotein(a) levels 14%. All lipid responses were dose dependent and generally additive. Graphs of the dose-response relationships as 3-dimensional surfaces documented the strength and consistency of these responses. CONCLUSIONS: Niacin ER/lovastatin combination therapy substantially improves 4 major lipoprotein levels associated with atherosclerotic disease. Dose-response surfaces provide a practical guide for dose selection.

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