Aims/hypothesis: Fenofibrate caused an acute, sustained plasma creatinine increase in the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) and Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) studies. We assessed fenofibrate's renal effects overall and in a FIELD washout sub-study.
Methods: Type 2 diabetic patients (n = 9,795) aged 50 to 75 years were randomly assigned to fenofibrate (n = 4,895) or placebo (n = 4,900) for 5 years, after 6 weeks fenofibrate run-in. Albuminuria (urinary albumin/creatinine ratio measured at baseline, year 2 and close-out) and estimated GFR, measured four to six monthly according to the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study, were pre-specified endpoints. Plasma creatinine was re-measured 8 weeks after treatment cessation at close-out (washout sub-study, n = 661). Analysis was by intention-to-treat.
Results: During fenofibrate run-in, plasma creatinine increased by 10.0 μmol/l (p < 0.001), but quickly reversed on placebo assignment. It remained higher on fenofibrate than on placebo, but the chronic rise was slower (1.62 vs 1.89 μmol/l annually, p = 0.01), with less estimated GFR loss (1.19 vs 2.03 ml min(-1) 1.73 m(-2) annually, p < 0.001). After washout, estimated GFR had fallen less from baseline on fenofibrate (1.9 ml min(-1) 1.73 m(-2), p = 0.065) than on placebo (6.9 ml min(-1) 1.73 m(-2), p < 0.001), sparing 5.0 ml min(-1) 1.73 m(-2) (95% CI 2.3-7.7, p < 0.001). Greater preservation of estimated GFR with fenofibrate was observed with baseline hypertriacylglycerolaemia (n = 169 vs 491 without) alone, or combined with low HDL-cholesterol (n = 140 vs 520 without) and reductions of ≥ 0.48 mmol/l in triacylglycerol over the active run-in period (pre-randomisation) (n = 356 vs 303 without). Fenofibrate reduced urine albumin concentrations and hence albumin/creatinine ratio by 24% vs 11% (p < 0.001; mean difference 14% [95% CI 9-18]; p < 0.001), with 14% less progression and 18% more albuminuria regression (p < 0.001) than in participants on placebo. End-stage renal event frequency was similar (n = 21 vs 26, p = 0.48).
Conclusions/interpretation: Fenofibrate reduced albuminuria and slowed estimated GFR loss over 5 years, despite initially and reversibly increasing plasma creatinine. Fenofibrate may delay albuminuria and GFR impairment in type 2 diabetes patients. Confirmatory studies are merited.
Trial registration: ISRCTN64783481.