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Media Availability: Fenofibrate may reduce heart disease risk in some patients with type 2 diabetes

For Immediate Release:
December 28, 2016

WHAT: A new study shows that the drug fenofibrate might reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes who have high levels of triglycerides and low levels of “good” cholesterol, despite being treated with statins. The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), appears in the December 28 issue of JAMA Cardiology.

Fenofibrate is primarily used to help reduce elevated levels of triglycerides, or fat, in the blood. But the researchers wanted to know if the drug, when combined with statin treatment, could also reduce the risk of heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of cardiovascular-related events, such as heart attacks, stroke, and even death, often because their levels of triglycerides are so high, and their high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels are low.

To answer their question, the researchers followed 4,640 participants from the NHLBI-funded Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Lipid Study for five years after the conclusion of the trial in 2009. The findings suggest that fenofibrate therapy may be beneficial in the way the researchers hoped: by reducing cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes who take statins but still have especially high triglycerides levels and low HDL cholesterol levels. However, a randomized study is needed to confirm these findings, according to the authors.

In addition to NHBLI, the study received funding from the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, the National Institute of Aging, and the National Eye Institute.

WHO: Jerome Fleg, MD and Yves Rosenberg, MD, M.P.H., Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, NHLBI, NIH, are available to comment on the findings and implications of this research.

ARTICLE: M Elam et al. Effect of Fenofibrate Therapy on Long-Term Cardiovascular Risk in Statin-Treated Patients with Type II Diabetes. JAMA Cardiology. DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2016.4828

CONTACT: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact the NHLBI Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education, and Communications at 301-496-5449 or nhlbi_news@nhlbi.nih.gov