Nature Reviews Cardiology 10, 560-570 (October 2013) | doi:10.1038/nrcardio.2013.117

Pharmacotherapies for lipid modification: beyond the statins

Antonio M. Gotto Jr & Jennifer E. Moon  About the authors


The widespread clinical use of statins has contributed to significant reductions in the rate of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality over the past 3 decades, and statins are considered first-line therapy for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic vascular disease. Nevertheless, various other lipid-lowering agents can provide clinical benefit by supplementing or augmenting statin therapy in patients with severe hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia, or by providing an alternative for patients who are intolerant to statins. Bile acid resins and niacin were prescribed for lipid modification for years before the introduction of the statins, and new data continue to emerge regarding their use in different patient groups and for specific conditions. Ezetimibe can be appropriate for patients whose primary lipid abnormality is an elevated LDL-cholesterol level, whereas the fibrates seem to be most beneficial in patients with low levels of HDL cholesterol and elevated triglycerides. At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, the first microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitor, lomitapide, and the first antisense therapy to target apolipoprotein B, mipomersen, were approved for the treatment of individuals with extremely elevated LDL-cholesterol levels caused by homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia. Although two agents in the experimental class of cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors have failed to show a benefit in clinical trials, newer drugs in this class could provide an additional strategy to address residual cardiovascular risk in patients treated with statins.

Author affiliations

A. M. Gotto Jr & J. E. Moon
Weill Cornell Medical College, 1305 York Avenue, Y-805, New York, NY 10021, USA (A. M. Gotto Jr, J. E. Moon).

Correspondence to: A. M. Gotto Jr

Published online 20 August 2013