Continuing Medical Education

Novel approaches to lipid-lowering therapy

D Brozin, F J Raal


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a major cause of death worldwide, with dyslipidaemia playing a significant role in the disease process. It is clinically useful to demarcate hypercholesterolaemia from hypertriglyceridaemia, with an increased serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol being the most powerful predictor of CVD morbidity and mortality, and a significant elevation in triglyceride levels increasing the risk of acute pancreatitis. Statins (with or without ezetimibe) and fibrates are the current first-line therapy in the management of dyslipidaemia. Although these medications have shown effectiveness in reducing CVD complications, there are patients who require a greater modification in lipid profile or are intolerant of first-line therapy. Novel agents are on the horizon, which have shown to lead to a significant decrease in serum LDL cholesterol. These include the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors (which have shown a reduction in CVD morbidity), mipomersen, cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors and bempedoic acid. Further studies of the clinical benefit of these medications are ongoing. Drugs such as pemfibrate, angiopoietin-like protein 3 (ANGPTL3) inhibitors, apolipoprotein C3 (apo C3) inhibitors and diacylglycerol acyltransferase-1 (DGAT 1) inhibitors have shown promising results in the management of hypertriglyceridaemia. It is hoped that these exciting new technological advancements in the future management of dyslipidaemia will result in clinical benefit for patients.

Authors' affiliations

D Brozin, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

F J Raal, Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism Research Unit and Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Lipid-lowering therapy

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2018;108(4):262-265. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2018.v108i4.13234

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-03-28
Date published: 2018-03-28

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