Feature | March 14, 2013

Research Shows Niacin Added to Statin Therapy Increases HDL Cholesterol Levels, But Does Not Improve HDL Functionality

March 14, 2013 — While two large clinical trials recently showed that adding niacin to statin therapy failed to improve clinical outcomes despite a significant increase in HDL-C levels, little is known about exactly why the increased HDL-C levels did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke. Now, researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania are showing in a small study that while niacin increased measured levels of HDL-C, it did not improve the functionality of HDL. This may provide an explanation for the failure of niacin to further reduce cardiovascular risk. These study results were reported at the 62nd annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology in San Francisco.

“There is a major need to identify additional agents to target residual cardiovascular risk beyond the use of statins,” said senior study author Daniel J. Rader, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of the division of translational medicine and human genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. “Niacin is one of the oldest players in this field and is often used clinically to increase HDL cholesterol levels. However, much to the disappointment of the medical community, recent trials of niacin added to standard LDL-lowering therapy with statins failed to show benefit in improving cardiovascular outcomes. There has been substantial recent interest in the function of HDL independent of HDL cholesterol levels. We performed a small trial to examine how niacin modulated a classic function of HDL, namely its ability to promote cholesterol removal from cells.”

Previous work from Pennsylvania investigators has shown that a measure of HDL function, cholesterol efflux capacity, is more strongly related to coronary artery disease than HDL cholesterol levels. To assess the change in functional capacity of HDL with niacin therapy, they randomized 39 patients with known carotid atherosclerosis to either simvastatin plus placebo or simvastatin plus extended-release niacin. After six months of therapy, they measured HDL-C levels and assessed functional properties using two tests — cholesterol efflux capacity (a measure of how well HDL removes cholesterol from lipid-loaded cells) and the HDL inflammatory index (which quantifies the antioxidant properties as it relates to preventing the oxidation of LDL).

As expected, they saw a 29 percent increase in HDL cholesterol with the addition of niacin to statin therapy, compared to a two percent increase in those treated with statin only. However, on the measures of cholesterol efflux capacity and the HDL inflammatory index, they saw no significant changes in HDL function.

“Based on our research, we now know that the addition of niacin to statin does not improve HDL function, providing a possible explanation for the failure of previous large scale trials,” said lead study author Amit Khera, M.D., a former member of the Rader lab who is now completing his residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “The assays we used to measure HDL function are robust and reproducible, thus potentially useful in the early clinical screening of new HDL-targeted therapies to understand how/if they might work.”

Other study authors from the University of Pennsylvania include Parin J. Patel, M.D., and Muredach P. Reilly, MBBCH, MSC.

Investigator-initiated grants were received from Merck and KOS (now Abbott) Pharmaceuticals for the study, though they had no influence on study design, analysis or abstract preparation. The research team also received support from the Penn Cardiovascular Institute and the NIH-CTSA supported Penn Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC).

For more information: www.pennmedicine.org

Related Content

Biotronik Studies Demonstrate Efficacy of Minimizing Metal Burden in SFA Therapy
News | Stents Bare Metal| September 22, 2017
Physicians demonstrated that reducing metal burden in superficial femoral artery (SFA) therapy could effectively reduce...
Edwards Inspiris Resilia Valve Receives FDA Approval
News | Heart Valve Technology| September 21, 2017
Edwards Lifesciences Corp. recently received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Inspiris Resilia...
MyoKardia Presents Additional Positive Data From Phase 2 PIONEER-HCM Study at HFSA 2017
News | Heart Failure| September 21, 2017
MyoKardia Inc. announced that additional positive data from the first patient cohort of its Phase 2 PIONEER-HCM study...
DISRUPT BTK Study Shows Positive Results With Lithoplasty in Calcified Lesions Below the Knee
News | Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)| September 20, 2017
Shockwave Medical reported positive results from the DISRUPT BTK Study, which were presented at the annual...
Heart Failure Market to Surpass $16 Billion by 2026
News | Heart Failure| September 19, 2017
The heart failure space across the seven key markets of the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and Japan is...
Corindus Announces First Patient Enrolled in PRECISION GRX Registry
News | Robotic Systems| September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017 — Corindus Vascular Robotics Inc.
Two-Year ILLUMENATE Trial Data Demonstrate Efficacy of Stellarex Drug-Coated Balloon
News | Drug-Eluting Balloons| September 18, 2017
Philips announced the two-year results from the ILLUMENATE European randomized clinical trial (EU RCT) demonstrating...
Sentinel Cerebral Protection System Significantly Reduces Stroke and Mortality in TAVR
News | Embolic Protection Devices| September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017 – Claret Medical announced publication of a new study in the...
Marijuana Associated With Three-Fold Risk of Death From Hypertension
News | Hypertension| September 14, 2017
Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to research published recently...
Peter Schneider, M.D. presents late breaking clinical trial results at VIVA 17 in Las Vegas. Panelists (l to r) Krishna Rocha-Singh, M.D., Sean Lyden, M.D., John Kaufman, M.D., Donna Buckley, M.D.

Peter Schneider, M.D. presents late breaking clinical trial results at VIVA 17 in Las Vegas. Panelists (l to r) Krishna Rocha-Singh, M.D., Sean Lyden, M.D., John Kaufman, M.D., Donna Buckley, M.D.

Feature | Cath Lab| September 14, 2017
September 14, 2017 — Here are quick summaries for all the key late-breaking vascular and endovascular clinical trials
Overlay Init