"June 10, 2015 -- A new class of medications can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol to unheard-of levels, and it may be on the horizon.
The new class is called PCSK9 inhibitors. An FDA advisory panel on Tuesday recommended that the agency approve t"...
Coronary Heart Disease Morbidity and Mortality
The effect of LIPOFEN on coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality and non-cardiovascular mortality has not been established.
The Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Lipid (ACCORD Lipid) trial was a randomized placebo-controlled study of 5518 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus on background statin therapy treated with fenofibrate. The mean duration of follow-up was 4.7 years. Fenofibrate plus statin combination therapy showed a non-significant 8% relative risk reduction in the primary outcome of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), a composite of non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, and cardiovascular disease death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.92, 95% CI 0.79-1.08) (p=0.32) as compared to statin monotherapy. In a gender subgroup analysis, the hazard ratio for MACE in men receiving combination therapy versus statin monotherapy was 0.82 (95% CI 0.69-0.99), and the hazard ratio for MACE in women receiving combination therapy versus statin monotherapy was 1.38 (95% CI 0.98-1.94) (interaction p=0.01). The clinical significance of this subgroup finding is unclear.
The Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study was a 5-year randomized, placebo-controlled study of 9795 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with fenofibrate. Fenofibrate demonstrated a non-significant 11% relative reduction in the primary outcome of coronary heart disease events (hazard ratio [HR] 0.89, 95% CI 0.75-1.05, p=0.16) and a significant 11% reduction in the secondary outcome of total cardiovascular disease events (HR 0.89 [0.80-0.99], p=0.04). There was a non-significant 11% (HR 1.11 [0.95, 1.29], p=0.18) and 19% (HR 1.19 [0.90, 1.57], p=0.22) increase in total and coronary heart disease mortality, respectively, with fenofibrate as compared to placebo.1
Because of chemical, pharmacological, and clinical similarities between fenofibrate, clofibrate, and gemfibrozil, the adverse findings in 4 large randomized, placebo-controlled clinical studies with these other fibrate drugs may also apply to LIPOFEN.
In the Coronary Drug Project, a large study of post myocardial infarction patients treated for 5 years with clofibrate, there was no difference in mortality seen between the clofibrate group and the placebo group. There was however, a difference in the rate of cholelithiasis and cholecystitis requiring surgery between the two groups (3.0% vs. 1.8%).
In a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), 5000 subjects without known coronary artery disease were treated with placebo or clofibrate for 5 years and followed for an additional one year. There was a statistically significant, higher age-adjusted all-cause mortality in the clofibrate group compared with the placebo group (5.70% vs. 3.96%, p= < 0.01). Excess mortality was due to a 33% increase in non-cardiovascular causes, including malignancy, post-cholecystectomy complications, and pancreatitis. This appeared to confirm the higher risk of gallbladder disease seen in clofibrate-treated patients studied in the Coronary Drug Project.
The Helsinki Heart Study was a large (n=4081) study of middle aged men without a history of coronary artery disease. Subjects received either placebo or gemfibrozil for 5 years, with a 3.5 year open extension afterward. Total mortality was numerically higher in the gemfibrozil randomization group but did not achieve statistical significance (p=0.19, 95% confidence interval for relative risk G:P=0.91-1.64). Although cancer deaths trended higher in the gemfibrozil group (p=0.11), cancers (excluding basal cell carcinoma) were diagnosed with equal frequency in both study groups. Due to the limited size of the study, the relative risk of death from any cause was not shown to be different than that seen in the 9 year follow-up data from the WHO study (RR=1.29).
A secondary prevention component of the Helsinki Heart Study enrolled middle-aged men excluded from the primary prevention study because of known or suspected coronary heart disease. Subjects received gemfibrozil or placebo for 5 years. Although cardiac deaths trended higher in the gemfibrozil group, this was not statistically significant (hazard ratio 2.2, 95% confidence interval: 0.94-5.05).
Fibrates increase the risk for myopathy and have been associated with rhabdomyolysis. The risk for serious muscle toxicity appears to be increased in elderly patients and in patients with diabetes, renal insufficiency, or hypothyroidism.
Data from observational studies indicate that the risk for rhabdomyolysis is increased when fibrates, in particular gemfibrozil, are co-administered with an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin). The combination should be avoided unless the benefit of further alterations in lipid levels is likely to outweigh the increased risk of this drug combination [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Myopathy should be considered in any patient with diffuse myalgias, muscle tenderness or weakness, and/or marked elevations of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels.
Patients should be advised to report promptly unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever. Creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels should be assessed in patients reporting these symptoms, and LIPOFEN therapy should be discontinued if markedly elevated CPK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed.
Cases of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, have been reported with fenofibrates co-administered with colchicine, and caution should be exercised when prescribing fenofibrate with colchicine [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Fenofibrate at doses equivalent to 100 mg to 150 mg LIPOFEN per day has been associated with increases in serum transaminases [AST (SGOT) or ALT (SGPT)]. In a pooled analysis of 10 placebo-controlled trials of fenofibrate, increases to > 3 times the upper limit of normal of ALT occurred in 5.3% of patients taking fenofibrate versus 1.1% of patients treated with placebo. The incidence of increases in transaminases observed with fenofibrate therapy may be dose related. When transaminase determinations were followed either after discontinuation of treatment or during continued treatment, a return to normal limits was usually observed.
Chronic active hepatocellular and cholestatic hepatitis associated with fenofibrate therapy have been reported after exposures of weeks to several years. In extremely rare cases, cirrhosis has been reported in association with chronic active hepatitis.
Baseline and regular monitoring of liver tests, including ALT should be performed for the duration of therapy with LIPOFEN, and therapy discontinued if enzyme levels persist above three times the normal limit.
Elevations in serum creatinine have been reported in patients on fenofibrate. These elevations tend to return to baseline following discontinuation of fenofibrate. The clinical significance of these observations is unknown. Monitor renal function in patients with renal impairment taking LIPOFEN. Renal monitoring should also be considered for patients taking LIPOFEN and are at risk for renal insufficiency, such as the elderly and patients with diabetes.
Fenofibrate, like clofibrate and gemfibrozil, may increase cholesterol excretion into the bile, leading to cholelithiasis. If cholelithiasis is suspected, gallbladder studies are indicated. LIPOFEN therapy should be discontinued if gallstones are found.
Caution should be exercised when LIPOFEN is given in conjunction with coumarin anticoagulants. LIPOFEN may potentiate the anticoagulant effects of these agents resulting in prolongation of the Prothrombin Time/International Normalized Ratio (PT/INR). To prevent bleeding complications, frequent monitoring of PT/INR and dose adjustment of the anticoagulant are recommended until PT/INR has stabilized [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Pancreatitis has been reported in patients taking fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and clofibrate. This occurrence may represent a failure of efficacy in patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia, a direct drug effect, or a secondary phenomenon mediated through biliary tract stone or sludge formation with obstruction of the common bile duct.
Mild to moderate decreases in hemoglobin, hematocrit, and white blood cell decreases have been observed in patients following initiation of fenofibrate therapy. However, these levels stabilize during long term administration. Thrombocytopenia and agranulocytosis have been reported in individuals treated with fenofibrate. Periodic monitoring of red and white blood cell counts is recommended during the first 12 months of LIPOFEN administration.
Acute hypersensitivity reactions including severe skin rashes such as Steven-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis requiring patient hospitalization and treatment with steroids have been reported in individuals treated with fenofibrate. Urticaria was seen in 1.1 vs. 0% and rash in 1.4 vs. 0.8% of fenofibrate and placebo patients respectively in controlled trials.
In the FIELD trial, pulmonary embolus (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) were observed at higher rates in the fenofibrate than the placebo-treated group. Of 9,795 patients enrolled in FIELD, 4,900 in the placebo group and 4,895 in the fenofibrate group. For DVT, there were 48 events (1%) in the placebo group and 67 (1%) in the fenofibrate group (p = 0.074); and for PE, there were 32 (0.7%) events in the placebo group and 53 (1%) in the fenofibrate group (p = 0.022).
In the Coronary Drug Project, a higher proportion of the clofibrate group experienced definite or suspected fatal or nonfatal pulmonary embolism or thrombophlebitis than the placebo group (5.2% vs. 3.3% at 5 years; p < 0.01).
Paradoxical Decreases in HDL Cholesterol Levels
There have been postmarketing and clinical trial reports of severe decreases in HDL cholesterol levels (as low as 2 mg/dL) occurring in diabetic and non-diabetic patients initiated on fibrate therapy. The decrease in HDL-C is mirrored by a decrease in apolipoprotein A1. This decrease has been reported to occur within 2 weeks to years after initiation of fibrate therapy. The HDL-C levels remain depressed until fibrate therapy has been withdrawn; the response to withdrawal of fibrate therapy is rapid and sustained. The clinical significance of this decrease in HDL-C is unknown. It is recommended that HDL-C levels be checked within the first few months after initiation of fibrate therapy. If a severely depressed HDL-C level is detected fibrate therapy should be withdrawn, and the HDL-C level monitored until it has returned to baseline, and fibrate therapy should not be re-initiated.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
Safety in pregnant women has not been established. There are no adequate and well controlled studies of fenofibrate in pregnant women. Fenofibrate should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
In female rats given oral dietary doses of 15, 75, and 300 mg/kg/day of fenofibrate from 15 days prior to mating through weaning, maternal toxicity was observed at 0.3 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD), based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m².
In pregnant rats given oral dietary doses of 14, 127, and 361 mg/kg/day from gestation day 6-15 during the period of organogenesis, adverse developmental findings were not observed at 14 mg/kg/day (less than 1 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m²). At higher multiples of human doses evidence of maternal toxicity was observed.
In pregnant rabbits given oral gavage doses of 15, 150, and 300 mg/kg/day from gestation day 6-18 during the period of organogenesis and allowed to deliver, aborted litters were observed at 150 mg/kg/day (10 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons: mg/m²). No developmental findings were observed at 15 mg/kg/day (at less than 1 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m²).
In pregnant rats given oral dietary doses of 15, 75, and 300 mg/kg/day from gestation day 15 through lactation day 21 (weaning), maternal toxicity was observed at less than 1 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m².
Fenofibrate should not be used in nursing mothers. A decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Safety and effectiveness have not been established in pediatric patients.
Fenofibrate is substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Since elderly patients have a higher incidence of renal impairment, the dose selection for the elderly should be made on the basis of renal function [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Fenofibrate exposure is not influenced by age. Elderly patients with normal renal function should require no dose modifications. Consider monitoring renal function in elderly patients taking LIPOFEN.
The use of LIPOFEN should be avoided in patients who have severe renal impairment [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Dose reduction is required in patients with mild to moderate renal impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Monitoring renal function in patients with renal impairment is recommended.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/1/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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