Safety and efficacy of laropiprant and extended-release niacin combination in the management of mixed dyslipidemias and primary hypercholesterolemia
Adie Viljoen1, Anthony S Wierzbicki2
1Lister Hospital, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK; 2Guy’s and St Thomas Hospitals, London, UK
Abstract: Statins form the cornerstone of pharmaceutical cardiovascular disease prevention. However, despite very effective statin intervention, the majority of events remain unpreventable. In some cases statin therapy alone is insufficient to achieve adequate lipid levels whereas other patients are unable to tolerate statins. This calls for additional treatment options. Niacin has a long history of success in reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It was the first lipid-lowering drug to demonstrate a reduction in cardiovascular events, and remains the only one that has consistently shown benefits on surrogate outcomes when added to background therapies of other lipid-lowering drugs, including statins. Niacin’s uptake in clinical practice has been less successful due to its side-effect profile, most notable being flushing. The uncovering of the mechanism by which flushing is induced, together with the development of a prostaglandin D2 receptor inhibitor (laropiprant) which reduces this downstream flushing effect of niacin, has sparked new promise in therapeutic lipid management. It provides an additional treatment option into managing lipid abnormalities. The uptake in clinical practice of the niacin–laropiprant combination will depend on the relative improvements experienced by the patient in the side-effect profile compared to other treatment options, as well as on the the keenly-awaited outcome studies currently underway. Until these data become available guidelines and recommendations are unlikely to change and niacin’s position in therapeutic cardiovascular risk prevention will be determined by clinician opinion and experience, and patient preferences.
Keywords: niacin, laropiprant, lipid abnormalities
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