Objectives: N-3 fatty acids reduce the risks of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Administration of N-3 fatty acids to patients treated with statins may potentiate the treatment effects. We examined the operating mechanisms underlying such a combination.
Methods: Thirty-two hypercholesterolemic patients aged 30-70 years with hypercholesterolemia controlled by statins, received sequential treatments with placebo followed by 1.9 g/day of N-3 fatty acids for 23 weeks. Scheduled clinical visits included physical examination, 24-h blood pressure measurement, endothelial function evaluated by pulse wave analysis, analyses for platelet function, inflammation markers [interleukin (IL)-6, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1)] and oxidative stress parameters (STAT-8-Isoprostane) were undertaken at baseline, after placebo treatment, and after 6 and 20 weeks of N-3 fatty acid intake.
Results: Platelets functions were significantly inhibited, whereas endothelial function parameters were unaltered. IL-6 significantly decreased whereas PAI-1and STAT-8-Isoprostane levels remained unaffected. Daytime blood pressure significantly decreased; however, nighttime pressure and heart rate remained unchanged. No evidence of lipid-profile improvement was observed following combined treatment with statins and N-3 fatty acids.
Conclusions: In hypercholesterolemic patients, combination of statins and N-3 fatty acid inhibits platelet aggregation, alters inflammatory status, and positively affects daytime blood pressure. Close long-term follow-up might reveal additional beneficial effects of N-3 fatty acids in this patient population.