Lipid-modifying drugs

Leon A Simons and David R Sullivan
Med J Aust 2005; 182 (6): 286-289.


  • An elevated concentration of low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) plays a causal role in the development of coronary heart disease and ischaemic stroke.

  • Placebo-controlled intervention studies of statin drugs for lowering LDL-C provide clear evidence of cardiovascular disease prevention.

  • LDL-C concentration below 2.5 mmol/L is an arbitrary goal, and recent trials support the benefit of achieving this goal, or even lower levels.

  • Pharmacological treatment is warranted in patients with high absolute risk of future cardiovascular events.

  • Effective monotherapy is available for predominant hypercholesterolaemia and predominant hypertriglyceridaemia, but combination therapy may be required for severe cases or in those with mixed hyperlipidaemia.

  • Side-effects are infrequent and usually mild, but widespread use of lipid-modifying medication demands caution because of the possibility of muscle or liver dysfunction or drug interactions.

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  • Leon A Simons1
  • David R Sullivan2

  • 1 University of New South Wales Lipid Research Department, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW.

Competing interests:

The authors have received consultancy fees or research support from manufacturers of lipid-modifying drugs.

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