Efficacy and safety of combination of extended release niacin and atorvastatin in patients with low levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Indian Heart J. 2008 May-Jun;60(3):215-22. PMID: 19240310
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the safety and efficacy of combination therapy of extended release (ER) niacin and atorvastatin in patients with low HDL-C and compared the results with atorvastatin monotherapy. METHODS: This open label study recruited consecutive men and women who had coronary artery disease with HDL-C levels <35 mg/dL. These patients were already on atorvastatin therapy targeted to lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), for a minimum period of 6 months. Group 1, n = 104 (mean age 52.7 years) received ER niacin in addition to atorvastatin and group 2 (n = 106) continued on atorvastatin (mean age 52.3 years). ER niacin dose was built up to a maximum of 1.5 g and atorvastatin dose titrated according to LDL levels in both the groups. The lipoprotein levels at baseline were similar (p = NS). RESULTS: At 9 +/- 1.8 months of follow-up, the mean dose of ER niacin was 1.3 g and atorvastatin 13.2 mg in group 1. In comparison, group 2 patients had mean atorvastatin dose of 15.9 mg. Patients in group 1 had significant elevation in HDL-C cholesterol (39.5 +/- 5.5 vs 35.7 +/- 4.5 mg/dL), reduction in total cholesterol (156.4 +/- 31 vs 164.5 +/- 39.3 mg/dL) and also LDL-C (88.9 +/- 28.3 vs 99.8 +/- 35.4 mg/dL) compared to group 2 (all p < 0.05). The magnitude of reduction in triglyceride levels was not significant between the groups (140.1 +/- 40.4 vs 145.2 +/- 46.5 mg/dL) (p = NS). No major adverse events or clinical myopathy occurred in either groups. Four patients (4%) discontinued ER niacin (2 due to gastro-intestinal symptoms and 2 due to worsening of diabetes). Flushing occurred in 3% patients, but none felt it to be troublesome. CONCLUSION: Adding ER niacin to atorvastatin exhibited beneficial effects on lipid profile with significant elevation of HDL-C cholesterol and further lowering of LDL-C compared to monotherapy. This treatment offered better targeted therapy and was well tolerated with proper monitoring in Indian patients.