Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of gemfibrozil in men with primary isolated low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Patients and Methods: Fourteen men with low levels of HDL-C but desirable total cholesterol levels received gemfibrozil in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. The men were placed on a National Cholesterol Education Program Step-Two Diet. They were randomly assigned to receive placebo and gemfibrozil each for 3 months, with a 1-month washout period between phases. Results: Overall, gemfibrozil increased the total HDL-C concentration by 9.2% (p = 0.001), reduced triglyceride (TG) levels by 38% (p <0.01), and significantly lowered the total cholesterol:HDL-C ratio (p = 0.01). Those with fasting TG levels of 1.07 mmol L (95 mg/dL) or greater had a significant elevation in the HDL-C level (14.6%, p = 0.005) and a reduction in TG levels (50%, p = 0.002) with gemfibrozil; those with fasting TG levels less than 1.07 mmol L had a smaller incease in the HDL-C level (4.1%, p > 0.05) and a smaller reduction in TG levels (15%, p = 0.02). There were no significant differences in the plasma levels of low density lipoprotein-cholesterol, HDL2-C, apolipoproteins (apo) A-I and B, or Lp(a). HDL3-C and ano A-II levels rose slightly. The adverse effects attributable to gemfibrozil were minimal. Conclusion: In men with desirable total cholesterol levels, gemfibrozil raises HDL-C and lowers TG levels to a similar extent as reported for hyperlipidemic men in the Helsinki Heart Study. These lipid-altering effects were most pronounced in those with the highest fasting TG levels.
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