Atorvastatin monotherapy vs. combination therapy in the management of patients with combined hyperlipidemia.
Mixed hyperlipidemia is a common disorder characterized by elevated VLDL and LDL levels. Patients with this syndrome usually are in need of combination therapy, comprising a fibric acid derivate with a statin drug in order to achieve LDL and triglyceride target values. Atorvastatin is a hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor demonstrated to be effective in reducing both cholesterol (CHOL) and triglyceride (TG) levels in humans. We examined the efficacy of atorvastatin as monotherapy in achieving a better or the same lipid profile in patients with mixed hyperlipidemia treated with combination therapy. We compared atorvastatin with a combination of a fibric acid derivate and a statin drug (other than atorvastatin) in a 24-week, prospective randomized, open-label study of 27 patients with mixed hyperlipidemia. All 27 patients had been treated with statin-fibrate therapy in different regimens for at least a year. Atorvastatin at a daily dose of 20 mg was substituted for statin-fibrate therapy. Lipid and safety profiles were assessed. Atorvastatin significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL-C, and HDL-C compared to statin-fibrate therapy. In contrast, TG and glucose levels were significantly elevated with atorvastatin. Target LDL-C and TG was achieved in 10 patients with the single therapy of atorvastatin vs. 6 patients under statin-fibrate. In 16 patients, atorvastatin was at least as effective as, or better than, the combination therapy, and was recommended for continuation of treatment. Atorvastatin is an adequate monotherapy for many mixed hyperlipidemia patients. We recommend atorvastatin be considered for every patient suffering from mixed hyperlipidemia.