Few studies have been performed to compare fenofibrate, a second-generation fibrate, and simvastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor. This study was aimed to compare the efficacy of both drugs in reducing atherogenic risk factors in type IIa or IIb hyperlipidemia.
Sixty-three patients entered this singlecenter, double-blind, crossover trial. Sixty patients (32 with type IIa and 28 with type lib hyperlipidemia) were randomized to treatment for 3 months with a single daily 200-mg dose of micronized fenofibrate or 20 mg of simvastatin and then changed to the alternative treatment for a further 3-month period.
After the first treatment period, in both types IIa and IIb, fenofibrate and simvastatin produced similar significant reductions in levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were increased with both drugs in type IIb. Only fenofibrate decreased total triglyceride levels in type lib, Lp(a) lipoprotein levels in patients with high baseline values, and fibrinogen. After the second period of treatment, in both types IIa and IIb, switching from fenofibrate to simvastatin resulted in a further reduction in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The difference in the response of the two treatments on levels of total triglycerides, Lp(a) lipoprotein, and fibrinogen was confirmed after changing over to the alternative treatment. This short-term study showed few adverse effects for both drugs.
Fenofibrate and simvastatin provide similar variations on total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels after a 3-month treatment period, with simvastatin having the capacity to decrease these measures further when administered after fenofibrate. However, fenofibrate exhibits a significant effect on other established risk factors, such as total triglyceride, fibrinogen, and Lp(a) lipoprotein levels, and accordingly has a broader spectrum of activity than simvastatin.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:441-449)