Background: Studies have documented the short-term vascular benefits of combination lipid therapy.
Objective: Our objective was to evaluate the long-term effects of combination lipid therapy on carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) in patients with coronary artery disease.
Methods: We performed a case-control study in patients who had finished the Familial Atherosclerosis Treatment Study (FATS) and returned to usual care with statin therapy alone or had elected to participate in the 20-year FATS-Observational Study (FATS-OS) and received combination therapy with lovastatin (40 mg/day), niacin (2-3 g/day), and colestipol (20 gm/day) for 11 years, then continued with simvastatin (10-80 mg/day) or lovastatin (40-80 mg/day) plus niacin (2-4 g/day). After 17.8 ± 0.8 years with combination therapy and 19.0 ± 0.8 years with usual care, cholesterol levels and CIMT were collected in 43 FATS-OS patients and 26 usual care patients.
Results: Combination therapy group had a greater decrease in total cholesterol (-42 ± 14% vs -31 ± 17%, P = .008) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (-57 ± 13% vs -38 ± 25%, P < .001) and greater increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (38 ± 43% vs 15 ± 23%, P = .02) as compared with usual care. CIMT (0.902 ± 0.164 vs 1.056 ± 0.169 mm, P < .001) on intensive therapy was significantly less compared with usual care. Multivariate regression analysis (coefficient, 95% CI) showed that combination therapy (-0.13; -0.21 to -0.04, P = .003) and on-therapy LDL-C (0.15; 0.02 to 0.28, P = .03) were significant independent predictors of CIMT.
Conclusions: Prolonged combination lipid therapy is associated with greater improvements in LDL-C and HDL-C levels and less atherosclerotic burden as compared with statin therapy alone.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Carotid intima-media thickness; Colestipol; Hypercholesterolemia; Niacin; Statin.
Copyright © 2014 National Lipid Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.