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. 2006 Oct;54:797-810.

Management Issues in the Metabolic Syndrome

  • PMID: 17214277

Management Issues in the Metabolic Syndrome

P C Deedwania et al. J Assoc Physicians India. .


The metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular dysmetabolic syndrome is characterized by obesity, central obesity, insulin resistance, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and hypertension. The major risk factors leading to this syndrome are physical inactivity and an atherogenic diet and cornerstone clinical feature is abdominal obesity or adiposity. In addition, patients usually have elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, elevated LDL cholesterol, other abnormal lipid parameters, hypertension, and elevated fasting blood glucose. Impaired fibrinolysis, increased susceptibility to thrombotic events, and raised inflammatory markers are also observed. Given that India has the largest number of subjects with type-2 diabetes in the world it can be extrapolated that this country also has the largest number of patients with the metabolic syndrome. Epidemiological studies confirm a high prevalence. Therapeutic approach involves intervention at a macro-level and control of multiple risk factors using therapeutic lifestyle approaches (diet control and increased physical activity, pharmacotherapy - anti-obesity agents) for control of obesity and visceral obesity, and targeted approach for control of individual risk factors. Pharmacological therapy is a critical step in the management of patients with metabolic syndrome when lifestyle modifications fail to achieve the therapeutic goals. Anti-obesity drugs such as sibutramine and orlistat can be tried to reduce weight and central obesity and jointly control the metabolic syndrome components. Other than weight loss, there is no single best therapy and treatment should consist of treatment of individual components of the metabolic syndrome. Newer drugs such as the endocannabinoid receptor blocker,rimonabant, appear promising in this regard. Atherogenic dyslipidemia should be controlled initially with statins if there is an increase in LDL cholesterol. If there are other lipid abnormalities then combination therapy of statin with fibrates, nicotinic acid, or ezetimibe should be considered. For insulin resistance, drugs such as thiazolidinediones and renin-angiotensin system blockers are available. Available evidence suggests that angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBS) may be more beneficial for treatment of hypertension in patients with metabolic syndrome compared to others as these drugs also prevent development of diabetes. Patients with metabolic syndrome also have elevations in fibrinogen and other coagulation factors leading to prothrombotic state and aspirin may be beneficial for primary prevention in these patients. The new developments in the treatment of metabolic syndrome with drugs, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists and cannabinoid receptor-1 antagonists, will broaden the horizons of the current treatment options. Fixed-dose combination polypharmacy using a single pill is an interesting concept that needs to be evaluated in long-term prospective trials in such patients.

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