Statin-fibrate combination: therapy for hyperlipidemia: a review

Curr Med Res Opin. 2003;19(3):155-68. doi: 10.1185/030079903125001668.


Statins and fibrates are well-established treatments for hyperlipidaemias and the prevention of vascular events. However, fibrate + statin therapy has been restricted following early reports of rhabdomyolysis that mainly involved gemfibrozil, originally with bovastatin, and recently, with cerivastatin. Despite this limitation, several reports describing combination therapy have been published. This review considers these studies and the relevant indications and contraindications. Statin + fibrate therapy should be considered if monotherapy or adding other drugs (e.g. cholesterol absorption inhibitors, omega-3 fatty acids ornicotinic acid) did not achieve lipid targets or is impractical. Combination therapy should be hospital-based and reserved for high-risk patients with a mixed hyperlipidaemia characterised by low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) >2.6 mmol/l(100 mg/dl, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) <1.0 mmol/l (40 mg/dl) and/or triglycerides> 5.6 mmol/l (500 mg/dl. These three 'goals' are individually mentioned in guidelines. Patients should have normal renal, liver and thyroid function tests and should not be receiving therapy with cyclosporine, protease inhibitors or drugs metabolised through cytochrome P450 (especially 3A4). Combination therapy is probably best conducted using drugs with short plasma half-lives; fibrates should be prescribed in the morning and statins at night to minimise peak dose interactions. Both drug classes should be progressively titated from low doses. Regular (3-monthly) monitoring of liver function and creatine kinase is required. In conclusion, fibrate + statin therapy remains an option in high-risk patents. However, long-term studies involving safety monitoring and vascular endpoints are required to demonstrate the efficacy of this regimen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticholesteremic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Stroke / prevention & control


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Hypolipidemic Agents