If dietary therapy and other lifestyle changes do not adequately normalise blood lipid levels, lipid-regulating drugs, as single-drug or combination-drug therapy, may be prescribed to supplement lifestyle changes. Evaluation of the individual patient's health and risk status, determination of the dyslipidaemia, definition of treatment goals and a clear understanding of the mechanisms and effects of lipid-regulating agents are necessary for optimisation of treatment. Although all the available lipid-regulating agents lower low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the agents with the greatest LDL cholesterol-lowering effect are the bile acid sequestrants, which up-regulate the LDL receptor by the decrease in intrahepatic cholesterol caused by the interruption of enterohepatic circulation of cholesterol-rich bile acids, and the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, which partially inhibit HMG-CoA reductase. The agents with the greatest triglyceride lowering effect are nicotinic acid, which decreases the production of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol and reduces the availability of free fatty acids in the circulation, and the fibric acid derivatives, which increase lipoprotein lipase activity and may also decrease the release of free fatty acids. Although the safety profile of the available lipid-regulating drugs has been established, patients should be monitored for potential adverse effects and interactions with concomitantly administered agents. When used correctly, lipid-regulating drug therapy is highly effective in the treatment of a variety of dyslipidaemias.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)