'Good' Cholesterol Levels May Boost Lipid Therapy Benefits

Study suggests high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels may determine benefits

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- One of the key determinants of successfully preventing cardiovascular events with lipid therapy is raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, according to a study in the Oct. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

After adjusting for changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, plasma triglycerides and pretreatment blood lipid levels, as well as smoking status, weight and other potential confounders, Steven A. Grover, M.D., of McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and colleagues developed a model to estimate the effect of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels on the risk of a cardiovascular event in patients on lipid therapy.

Change in the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was an independent predictor of risk for cardiovascular events, and this applied to a range of different patient subgroups and for different drug classes, the researchers found. The impact of increasing high-density lipoprotein was greatest among those patients with the lowest pretreatment low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, the investigators note.

"Although the benefits of raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels remain to be confirmed in randomized clinical trials, it appears that the modest changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels resulting from treatment with commonly used lipid drugs are associated with a reduction in cardiovascular risk independent of the effects on other lipid measures," the authors conclude.

The study was supported by Merck; several authors reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, including Merck.

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