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Body weight, plasma insulin, and coronary events with gemfibrozil in the Veterans Affairs High-Density Lipoprotein Intervention Trial (VA-HIT)

      Abstract

      Background

      The Veterans Affairs High-Density Lipoprotein Intervention Trial (VA-HIT) showed that gemfibrozil significantly reduced major coronary events in men with known coronary heart disease (CHD). To better understand why therapy was especially effective with obesity, diabetes, and hyperinsulinemia, changes in body weight and plasma insulin were determined after 1 year of gemfibrozil or placebo therapy and related to changes in lipids and CHD events.

      Results

      With gemfibrozil significantly more subjects lost weight (51.7% versus 38.6%, P < 0.0001) and significantly fewer subjects gained weight (42.5% versus 54.0%, P < 0.0001) than with placebo. Both a greater loss and smaller gain in weight with gemfibrozil were age-related and significant in subjects ≥66 years (median age), but not in younger subjects. Weight change was paralleled by changes in insulin. With gemfibrozil, CHD events were significantly reduced with weight loss (hazard ratio [HR], 0.61; 95% CI, 0.44–0.84; P = 0.002) and, particularly, with diabetes or hyperinsulinemia (HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.34–0.83; P = 0.006). In contrast, CHD events were not significantly reduced without weight loss (HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.62–1.12; P = 0.22).

      Conclusions

      In VA-HIT, gemfibrozil resulted in weight loss associated with reductions in insulin. With weight loss gemfibrozil produced a significant reduction in CHD events that did not occur in the absence of weight loss.

      Keywords

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