Focus on Lipids Care

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Low HDL cholesterol levels: Niacin or not?

KEY POINT

In a study stopped after 3 years, the addition of niacin (Niaspan—Abbott) to intensive statin therapy in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and LDL cholesterol levels below 70 mg/dL produced no clinical benefits despite raising HDL cholesterol and lowering triglyceride levels. The findings raise questions about continued use of the relatively expensive prescription niacin product, but the short duration of the study leaves much unanswered.

SOURCES

AIM-HIGH Investigators. Niacin in patients with low HDL cholesterol levels receiving intensive statin therapy. N Engl J Med. 2011;365:2255–67. 

Giugliano RP. Niacin at 56 years of age—time for an early retirement [editorial]? N Engl J Med. 2011; 365:2318–20.