Nicotinic acid in the management of dyslipidaemia associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome : a position paper developed by a European Consensus PanelNicotinic acid in the management of dyslipidaemia associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome : a position paper developed by a European Consensus Panel
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Research group
Laboratory Experimental Medicine and Pediatrics (LEMP)
Publication type
Human medicine
Source (journal)
Current medical research and opinion. - London
21(2005):5, p. 665-682
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
University of Antwerp
Individuals with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are at markedly increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The increasing prevalence of both conditions poses a major challenge for clinicians in the 21st century. Both diabetes and metabolic syndrome are associated with a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors. In particular, dyslipidaemia characterised by low plasma levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), elevated triglycerides and an increase in small, dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles (the lipid triad), has been established as the most important modifiable risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). Current treatment guidelines recognise the increased CHD risk associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome and focus on LDL-C lowering with statin treatment, in addition to dietary and lifestyle modification, as the primary lipid-modifying therapy. However, while there is no doubt that statin therapy significantly reduces CHD risk in these patients, their residual absolute risk remains higher than in individuals without diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Thus, there is a clear need to target other aspects of lipoprotein metabolism, notably low HDL-C and hypertriglyceridaemia, to further reduce CHD risk. Combining statin therapy (targeting LDL-C) with interventions that also modify low HDL-C and elevated triglycerides could be a useful strategy to optimise CHD risk reduction. Cautious combination of a fibrate or nicotinic acid with a statin is useful for the management of combined dyslipidaemia. Nicotinic acid is the more potent agent for raising HDL-C (by up to 29% at clinically recommended doses). It also substantially reduces triglycerides and LDL-C, and promotes a shift from small, dense LDL to larger, more buoyant LDL particles. Preliminary clinical data suggest that combining nicotinic acid with a statin will produce a greater reduction in cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetes and metabolic syndrome than statin monotherapy alone. Nicotinic acid is also safe for use in patients with diabetes, with no evidence of clinically relevant deterioration in glycaemic control at recommended doses (<= 2g/day). On review of the available evidence, this European Consensus Panel recommends the combination of nicotinic acid and a statin, together with lifestyle modification, as a useful strategy to lower CHD risk in patients with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Prolonged-release nicotinic acid with improved tolerability compared with previous formulations may have obvious advantages for use in this setting.