Combination of low-dose niacin and pravastatin improves the lipid profile in diabetic patients without compromising glycemic control.


Gardner SF, Marx MA, White LM




Ann Pharmacother


OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy and tolerability of the addition of low-dose niacin (1.5 g/d) in a diabetic hypercholesterolemic population who were unable to attain desired lipid control with low- dose (20 mg) pravastatin monotherapy. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This was a prospective, open-label study conducted over a 14-week period. Twenty-three diabetic patients with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations of at least 150 mg/dL after dietary therapy were recruited from the outpatient diabetes clinic of a university teaching hospital. After 4 weeks of dietary stabilization and baseline determination of the lipid profile and glycemic control, patients received pravastatin 20 mg once daily for 4 weeks. Laboratory parameters were reassessed and niacin was added to the regimen in qualifying patients. Over 2 weeks, patients' regimens were titrated to a maximal dosage of 500 mg tid. Patients continued to receive the combination regimen for 4 weeks and were reassessed. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Sixteen patients (14 non-insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus, 2 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) completed the study. Mean fasting blood sugar and fructosamine concentrations were unchanged throughout the study. Five patients required minor alterations (3 increased, 2 decreased) in their hypoglycemic regimens during the study. The addition of low-dose niacin to pravastatin therapy resulted in a significant lowering of LDL cholesterol compared with pravastatin monotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Low-dose niacin is a promising addition to hydroxymethylglutaryl- coenzyme A reductase inhibitor therapy in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia in patients with diabetes mellitus.