(Fibric Acid)

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What are fibrates?

Fibric acid derivatives (fibrates) are a class of medication that lowers blood triglyceride levels. Fibrates lower blood triglyceride levels by reducing the liver's production of VLDL (the triglyceride-carrying particle that circulates in the blood) and by speeding up the removal of triglycerides from the blood. Fibrates also are modestly effective in increasing blood HDL cholesterol levels; however, fibrates are not effective in lowering LDL cholesterol.

Very high triglyceride levels (usually >1000 mg/dl) can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas that can result in a serious illness with severe abdominal pain ). By lowering blood triglycerides, fibrates are used to prevent pancreatitis.

Fibrates are not effective in lowering LDL cholesterol; however, when a high risk patient (see NCEP recommendations) also has high blood triglyceride or low HDL cholesterol levels, doctors may consider combining a fibrate, such as fenofibrate (Tricor), with a statin. Such a combination will not only lower LDL cholesterol but also will lower blood triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol levels.

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