Objective: To assess the lipid-lowering effect of atorvastatin (a new 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A [HMG-CoA] reductase inhibitor) on levels of serum triglycerides and other lipoprotein fractions in patients with primary hypertriglyceridemia, determine if atorvastatin causes a redistribution of triglycerides in various lipoprotein fractions, and assess its safety by reporting adverse events and clinical laboratory measurements.
Design: Randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multicenter trial.
Setting: Community- and university-based research centers.
Patients: A total of 56 patients (aged 26 to 74 years) with a mean baseline triglyceride level of 6.80 mmol/L (603.3 mg/dL) and a mean baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level of 3.07 mmol/L (118.7 mg/dL).
Interventions: Cholesterol-lowering diet (National Institutes of Health National Cholesterol Education Program Step I Diet) and either 5 mg, 20 mg, or 80 mg of atorvastatin, or placebo.
Main outcome measures: Percent change from baseline in total triglycerides for three dose levels of atorvastatin compared with placebo.
Results: Mean reductions in total triglycerides between 5 mg, 20 mg, and 80 mg of atorvastatin and placebo after 4 weeks of treatment were -26.5%, -32.4%, -45.8%, and -8.9%, respectively. Mean reductions in LDL-C were -16.7%, -33.2%, -41.4%, and -1.4%, respectively, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) were -34.3%, -45.9%, -57.7%, and -5.5%, respectively. Similar mean changes in total apolipoprotein B (apo B) (-16.9%, -32.8%, -41.7%, and +1.0%), apo B in LDL (-14.8%, -29.8%, -42.0%, and -3.1%), and apo B in VLDL (-23.8%, -35.8%, -34.4%, and +11.7%) were observed. In addition, comparable mean changes in LDL triglycerides (-22.5%, -30.7%, -39.9%, and +3.9%) and VLDL triglycerides (-28.1%, -34.0%, -47.3%, and -10.8%) were seen.
Conclusions: In atorvastatin treatment groups, total serum triglyceride levels decreased in a dose-dependent manner, reductions in the 20-mg and 80-mg groups were statistically significant (P < .05) compared with placebo. Atorvastatin did not cause a redistribution of triglycerides but consistently lowered triglycerides in all lipoprotein fractions. Atorvastatin was well tolerated.