Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) is positively associated with risk for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Some but not all randomized and non-randomized clinical trials found significant associations between fenofibrate therapy and CRP but the direction and magnitude of the association varied across studies. The duration of treatment, patient populations and sample sizes varied greatly, and most short-term studies (i.e., ≤ 12 weeks) had fewer than 50 patients. In this study we meta-analyzed randomized clinical trials to determine the short-term effect of fenofibrate on CRP.
Methods: Two reviewers independently searched PubMed and other online databases for short-term randomized clinical trials that reported CRP concentrations before and after fenofibrate treatment. Of the 81 studies examined, 14 studies with 540 patients were found eligible. Data for the change in CRP and corresponding measures of dispersion were extracted for use in the meta-analysis.
Results: The weighted mean CRP concentrations before and after fenofibrate therapy were 2.15 mg/L and 1.53 mg/L (-28.8% change), respectively. Inverse-variance weighted random effects meta-analysis revealed that short-term fenofibrate treatment significantly lowers CRP by 0.58 mg/L (95% CI: 0.36-0.80). There was significant heterogeneity between studies (Q statistic = 64.5, P< 0.0001, I2 = 79.8%). There was no evidence of publication bias and sensitivity analysis revealed that omitting any of the 14 studies did not lead to a different conclusion from the overall meta-analysis result.
Conclusion: Short-term treatment with fenofibrate significantly lowers CRP concentration. Randomized trials that will recruit patients based with high baseline CRP concentrations and with change in CRP as a primary outcome are needed.