Background: Lipid lowering drugs improve survival. However, intervention studies have focused on reducing serum total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) concentrations and have not considered that levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), triglycerides (TG), lipoprotein (a) and fibrinogen also predict risk and outcome.
Methods: A retrospective survey of patients with primary dyslipidaemia attending a cardiovascular risk management clinic (set in a university hospital) was initiated to assess the effect of ciprofibrate, a drug with the potential to modify all these variables. Patients who received ciprofibrate (n = 72) were compared with 64 patients who only received lifestyle advice. Both groups had a similar age and gender distribution. The ciprofibrate group had a higher cardiovascular risk load but both groups shared several other characteristics. Fasting serum total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, TG, lipoprotein (a), glucose and plasma fibrinogen concentrations were measured at baseline and after 2-4 months.
Results: Ciprofibrate significantly improved total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, TG, lipoprotein (a) and fibrinogen. In contrast, lifestyle advice only significantly (but less markedly) reduced serum total cholesterol and TG concentrations.
Conclusions: In a clinical setting, ciprofibrate has a broad spectrum of action on several predictors of vascular events. Although our study is not of a double blind randomized design it reflects the conditions in clinical practice. Nevertheless, this type of survey has its limitations.