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Raising 'Good' Cholesterol May Cut Heart Risk in Diabetes Patients

Study Shows Heart Benefits for Diabetes Patients of Increasing HDL 'Good' Cholesterol

Lifestyle, HDL, and Heart Risk continued...

Along with lifestyle changes, some statins do raise HDL somewhat. But they’ve been studied mainly for their greater effectiveness in lowering LDL "bad" cholesterol.

Other drugs that target HDL, such as niacin, a vitamin, and gemfibrozil, one of a class of drugs called fibrates, are generic, so they lack the financial support for research and marketing that statins have had. In May, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute stopped a clinical trial of high-dose, extended-release niacin 18 months early because it did not reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke any more than a statin alone did.

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer tried to develop an HDL-raising drug, but it abandoned torcetrapib in late 2006 after it appeared to raise the risk of death and heart disease, not lower it.

Another drug that works in a similar way to torcetrapib, dalcetrapib, is showing signs that it can raise HDL without the safety risks associated with Pfizer’s drug, but the findings are still preliminary and larger studies are under way to see if it really will be effective and safe.

Vupputuri and co-researchers published their study online in the American Journal of Cardiology.

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