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A New Guideline for Treating Hypertriglyceridemia

Hypertriglyceridemia can substantially increase the likelihood of patients developing heart disease when compared with those who have normal triglyceride levels. While treatment strategies for this condition are well established, its causes differ from patient to patient, as do the risks they pose to each individual. Clinical practice guidelines from the Endocrine Society on hypertriglyceridemia were published in the September 2012 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (view and print guideline summary here). They recommend that more attention be paid to how personal history, physiology, and lifestyle interact to affect risk. “In recent years, much of the focus surrounding lipids has concentrated on cholesterol,” explains Lars Berglund, MD, PhD, who chaired the Endocrine Society task force that developed the most recent guidelines. “Although there are evidence–based guidelines from respected medical associations that address lipids, data on the complex role of triglycerides in heart disease continue to accumulate. Considering this recent emergence of data on triglycerides, it was important to focus on a guideline that specifically discusses this component of heart disease care.” Individualized Approach with Elevated Triglycerides Dr. Berglund stresses that clinicians should not view elevated fasting triglyceride levels as a standalone factor. “Triglycerides should be looked at in the context of other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic disease,” he says. “Assessment should include the evaluation of secondary causes of hyperlipidemia, including endocrine conditions and medications [Table 1]. Central obesity, hypertension, abnormalities of glucose metabolism, liver dysfunction, and family history of dyslipidemia and CVD should be assessed.” For example, patients with triglyceride levels in the moderate range—200 mg/dl to 999 mg/ dl—may have changes in HDL and...

Conference Highlights: American Heart Association’s 2010 Scientific Sessions

The American Heart Association held its 2010 Scientific Sessions from November 13 to 17 in Chicago. The features below highlight some of the news emerging from the meeting. » Benefits Observed With Experimental Cholesterol Drug » A New Approach for Difficult Hypertension Cases » PTSD Linked to Death, Atherosclerosis » Smoking Rates Decline, But Cessation Efforts Still Warranted » Scanning Matters When Managing Diabetics With Heart Disease » Combination Therapy Effective in Heart Failure Benefits Observed With Experimental Cholesterol Drug The Particulars:  Elevated LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Statins have been shown to reduce LDL and lessen CVD risk. Despite statin therapy, many patients still have a high risk of CVD. Anacetrapib is an experimental cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor. It is intended to block the ability of the CETP enzyme to transfer cholesterol particles from HDL to LDL cholesterol. Data Breakdown: The DEFINE study (Determining the Efficacy and Tolerability of CETP Inhibition with Anacetrapib) was a randomized, double-blind trial of 1,623 patients who took either 100 mg anacetrapib or a placebo for 18 months. Patients were already being treated with a statin and/or other lipid-lowering medicine. Anacetrapib reduced LDL by 40%—from 81 mg/dL to 49 mg/dL. It also more than doubled the level of HDL cholesterol—from 40 mg/dL to 101 mg/dL—without raising blood pressure. Take Home Pearls: Anacetrapib appears to more than double the level of HDL cholesterol and reduce LDL cholesterol without the blood pressure increase that has been linked to other CETP inhibitors. The full efficacy and safety of anacetrapib must be evaluated in a larger, phase...
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