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Pharmacologic Therapy for the Hyperlipidemic Patient

  • DONALD B. HUNNINGHAKE
    Correspondence
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Donald B. Hunninghake, Department of Pharmacology, 3-260 Millard Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine and Pharmacology and Lipid Research Clinic, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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      Drug therapy should be Instituted only after appropriate diet treatment has been started and adequate baseline lipid and lipoprotein values are established. Nicotinic acid is useful in treating most lipoprotein disorders and the cutaneous flushing that develops during the early part of treatment is usually alleviated by aspirin. Cholestyramine and colestipol are nonabsorbable resins whose use is limited to type II hyperlipoproteinemia. Clofibrate is primarily effective in lowering triglyceride levels, but its clinical use has considerably declined following the World Health Organization study results that reported increased morbidity and mortality rates among patients receiving this drug. Based on the finding of increased mortality among a subset of patients participating In the Coronary Drug Project, dextrothyroxine is only recommended for treating patients who do not have clinically evident atherosclerotic heart disease. Probucol lowers total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, but has the undesirable effect of simultaneously reducing high-density lipoprotein levels.
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