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Extended-Release Niacin Versus Fenofibrate in HIV-Infected Participants With Low High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol: Effects on Endothelial Function, Lipoproteins, and Inflammation



Low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) are common in individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, persist during antiretroviral therapy (ART), and are associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.


Virologically controlled participants without CVD on stable ART with low HDL-C (men <40 mg/dL, women <50 mg/dL) and triglycerides >150 mg/dL were randomized to receive open-label extended-release niacin 1500 mg/day with aspirin 325 mg/day or fenofibrate 200 mg/day for 24 weeks. The primary endpoint was the week 24 within-arm change in brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in participants with complete follow-up scans.


Of 99 participants, 74 had complete data (35 niacin, 39 fenofibrate). Median age was 45 years, 77% were male, median CD4(+) count was 561 cells/µL, and brachial FMD was 4.2%. Median HDL-C was 32 mg/dL for men and 38 mg/dL for women, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was 103 mg/dL, and triglycerides were 232 mg/dL. In men, HDL-C increased a median of 3 mg/dL with niacin and 6.5 mg/dL with fenofibrate (P < .001 for both). In women, HDL-C increased a median of 16 mg/dL with niacin and 8 mg/dL with fenofibrate (P = .08 for both). After 24 weeks, there was no significant change in FMD in either arm; the median (interquartile range) change was +0.6% (-1.6 to 2.3) with niacin (P = .28) and +0.5% (-1.0 to 3.0) with fenofibrate (P = .19). Neither treatment significantly affected C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, or D-dimer levels.


Despite improvements in lipids, niacin or fenofibrate treatment for 24 weeks did not improve endothelial function or inflammatory markers in participants with well-controlled HIV infection and low HDL-C.

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