Background: Microalbuminuria is an early marker of diabetic nephropathy and an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In the Diabetes Atherosclerosis Intervention Study (DAIS), treatment of people with type 2 diabetes with micronized fenofibrate for an average of 38 months reduced the progression of angiographically evaluated coronary artery disease and improved lipoprotein level abnormalities compared with placebo. The aim of this analysis is to study the influence of the treatment on changes in urinary albumin excretion.
Methods: Microalbuminuria was measured on 2 to 3 occasions by using timed overnight samples at baseline and yearly thereafter in 314 DAIS participants (77 women, 237 men; average age, 56 years); all except 3 participants had either a normal albumin excretion rate (<20 microg/min; n = 214) or microalbuminuria (albumin, 20 to 200 microg/min; n = 97) before randomization. Tabulated shifts (between normal, microalbuminuria, and macroalbuminuria) from baseline to last observed values were compared between treatment groups by means of chi-square or Fisher's exact test.
Results: Fenofibrate significantly reduced the worsening of albumin excretion (fenofibrate, 8% versus placebo, 18%; P < 0.05). This effect was caused mostly by reduced progression from normal albumin excretion to microalbuminuria: 3 of 101 participants in the fenofibrate group versus 20 of 113 participants in the placebo group (P < 0.001). Overall, changes in albumin excretion were independent of age or changes in lipid or creatinine levels, weight, or blood pressure.
Conclusion: Improvement in lipid profiles with fenofibrate in patients with type 2 diabetes was associated with reduced progression from normal albumin excretion to microalbuminuria.