Objective: Published reports suggest that pioglitazone and rosiglitazone have different effects on lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, these previous studies were either retrospective chart reviews or clinical trials not rigorously controlled for concomitant glucose- and lipid-lowering therapies. This study examines the lipid and glycemic effects of pioglitazone and rosiglitazone.
Research design and methods: We enrolled subjects with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (treated with diet alone or oral monotherapy) and dyslipidemia (not treated with any lipid-lowering agents). After a 4-week placebo washout period, subjects randomly assigned to the pioglitazone arm (n = 400) were treated with 30 mg once daily for 12 weeks followed by 45 mg once daily for an additional 12 weeks, whereas subjects randomly assigned to rosiglitazone (n = 402) were treated with 4 mg once daily followed by 4 mg twice daily for the same intervals.
Results: Triglyceride levels were reduced by 51.9 +/- 7.8 mg/dl with pioglitazone, but were increased by 13.1 +/- 7.8 mg/dl with rosiglitazone (P < 0.001 between treatments). Additionally, the increase in HDL cholesterol was greater (5.2 +/- 0.5 vs. 2.4 +/- 0.5 mg/dl; P < 0.001) and the increase in LDL cholesterol was less (12.3 +/- 1.6 vs. 21.3 +/- 1.6 mg/dl; P < 0.001) for pioglitazone compared with rosiglitazone, respectively. LDL particle concentration was reduced with pioglitazone and increased with rosiglitazone (P < 0.001). LDL particle size increased more with pioglitazone (P = 0.005).
Conclusions: Pioglitazone and rosiglitazone have significantly different effects on plasma lipids independent of glycemic control or concomitant lipid-lowering or other antihyperglycemic therapy. Pioglitazone compared with rosiglitazone is associated with significant improvements in triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, LDL particle concentration, and LDL particle size.