Fibric acid derivatives in cardiovascular disease prevention: results from the large clinical trials

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Results from five large placebo-controlled trials with second-generation fibrates have shown varying success in reducing cardiovascular events. This review focuses on a number of extended analyses from these trials that may relate to the success or failure of fibrate therapy and indicate who might likely benefit from this therapy.

Recent findings

Results have been far from uniform and several trials have been adversely impacted by high off-trial statin use. Collective evidence suggests, however, that fibrates have optimum cardiovascular benefit in diabetes or other manifestations of insulin resistance. Much of this evidence comes from posttrial analysis in subgroups with more sharply defined clinical characteristics than in the overall trial population. Analyses also suggest that different fibrates have a different range of favorable clinical properties, that the cardiovascular benefit of fibrates may not be readily measured or mostly predicted by changes in traditional lipid measurements, and that other nonlipid properties of fibrates as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agents might explain some of the benefit of these drugs.

Summary

Results of major clinical endpoint trials with fibrates, although not uniformly positive, provide substantial evidence for a selective therapeutic role of these drugs in cardiovascular event reduction in diabetes or insulin resistance.

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