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LDL Increase on Omega-3 Plus Simvastatin Only in Subgroup

Study suggests LDL increases limited to those with lowest baseline LDL cholesterol levels

FRIDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- The increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that occurs with the addition of omega-3 treatment to simvastatin appears to happen mainly in those with low baseline LDL while on simvastatin alone, according to research published in the May 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Kevin C. Maki, Ph.D., of Provident Clinical Research in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and Bloomington, Ind., and colleagues analyzed data from an eight-week trial of 256 participants randomized to prescription omega-3 acid ethyl ester (P-OM3) or placebo plus diet and simvastatin to investigate predictors of LDL cholesterol response to P-OM3 therapy in men and women with mixed lipid disorders during diet plus simvastatin therapy.

The researchers found the baseline LDL cholesterol tertile to be a significant predictor of LDL response. The median LDL cholesterol response in the P-OM3 group was +9.5 percent in the first tertile (<80.4 mg/dL), −0.9 percent in the second tertile, and +6.4 percent in the third tertile (≥99.0 mg/dL). Triglyceride and non-high-density, very-low-density, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol responses did not change significantly with baseline LDL cholesterol tertile. Over all tertiles of LDL, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was reduced to a larger extent, resulting in a net decrease of cholesterol concentration.

"In conclusion, these results suggest that the increase in LDL cholesterol that occurred with the addition of P-OM3 to simvastatin therapy in subjects with mixed dyslipidemia was confined predominantly to those with low LDL cholesterol levels while receiving simvastatin monotherapy," the authors write.

The trial was funded by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline.

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