Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vitamin B niacin offers no extra benefit to statin therapy in seniors already diagnosed with CAD

19.11.2009
Blood cholesterol levels improved, but arteries do not show it

The routine prescription of extended-release niacin, a B vitamin (1,500 milligrams daily), in combination with traditional cholesterol-lowering therapy offers no extra benefit in correcting arterial narrowing and diminishing plaque buildup in seniors who already have coronary artery disease, a new vascular imaging study from Johns Hopkins experts shows.

In tests on 145 Baltimore-area men and women with existing atherosclerosis, all over age 65, researchers found that after 18 months of drug therapy, reductions in arterial wall thickness were measurably no different between the half who took dual niacin-statin therapy and the rest who remained on statin therapy alone.

The results were the same whether they took any one of the three leading statin medications: atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvistatin (Zocor) or rosuvastatin (Crestor). Seniors on dual drug therapy had an average 5.4 cubic millimeter per month scale back in plaque buildup in the main neck artery, while those taking just a cholesterol-lowering statin medication came down by 4 cubic millimeters per month, a difference that researchers say is not statistically significant.

The team will present its findings Nov. 18 at the American Heart Association's (AHA) annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando.

According to senior study investigator and Johns Hopkins cardiologist João Lima, M.D., the lack of any discernible advantage occurred despite promising gains in bad (LDL) and good (HDL) blood cholesterol levels in those taking vitamin B niacin. Results showed that in the group taking both niacin and a statin, blood levels of LDL-cholesterol fell 5 percent more than in the group taking only statin medications. And levels of HDL jumped 14 percent more than in the statin-only group.

"Our findings tell us that improved cholesterol levels from taking combination vitamin B niacin and statin therapy do not necessarily translate into observable benefits in reversing and stalling carotid artery disease," says Lima, a professor of medicine and radiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute. "This does not mean that niacin therapy may not have other cardiovascular benefits, but any such benefits are independent of reducing the amount of plaque buildup and patients should be aware of that."

"Our recommendation to physicians is that current national treatment guidelines, which recommend mainly statin therapy tailored to the severity of atherosclerosis for preventing arteries from reclogging and narrowing, appear to be sufficient and accurate for physicians and patients to follow," says Lima.

However, Lima cautions that an ongoing national study of the long-term vascular benefits of dual therapy and whether extended-release niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, lowers death rates from heart disease should provide more definitive data. Hopkins is participating in that research, as well. He also notes that extended-releases niacin used in this study is a prescription medication, and that it is not sold over the counter like many other vitamin B products.

"The real value in initially studying this particular group of people is that these seniors are the ones who I am most likely to see in the hospital, the group most vulnerable to coronary artery disease and most at risk of suffering an arterial blockage, heart attack, or stroke," says lead study investigator Christopher Sibley, M.D. Nearly 17 million American adults are estimated to have some form of coronary artery disease, resulting in more than 400,000 deaths each year.

"Practically speaking, carotid MRI scans are an option to assess the risk of patients based on the amount of plaque in their arteries, to better determine who needs aggressive statin therapy and to monitor how well they respond to treatment," says Sibley, an adjunct assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, as well as a staff clinician at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

All study participants had one or more preexisting cardiovascular health issues, such as a previous heart attack, stroke, coronary artery bypass grafting to resupply blood to the heart, severe chest pain, or angioplasty with the placement of wire stents to keep arteries open.

At the start of the study, participants received an MRI scan of their carotid artery, and again every six months thereafter. The four sets of carotid images provided what Sibley says is "an important window" into what is going on in the body's network of veins and arteries. He notes that the neck artery is important not just because it serves as the main blood supply to the brain, but also because narrowing in the carotid artery reflects the risk of future heart attack.

Sibley says that the team has begun to analyze blood samples collected as part of the study, searching for chemicals that might also signal a change in arterial plaque buildup and progressive arterial narrowing.

Funding support for the study, conducted solely at Johns Hopkins, was provided by the National Institute on Aging, a member of the National Institutes of Health. The nicotinic acid (Niaspan) used in the study was provided by its manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, based in Abbott Park, Ill.

Other Hopkins researchers involved in this study were Ilan Gottlieb, M.D.; Christopher Cox, Ph.D.; Gustavo Gudoy, M.D.; Amy Spooner, M.D.; and David Bluemke, M.D., Ph.D., who is now at the National Institutes of Health. (Presentation title: Comparative effect of statin versus niacin on MRI-measured regression of carotid atherosclerosis in a randomized clinical trial, the National Institute on Aging Plaque Study.)

For additional information, go to: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/experts/physician
_profile.html?profile=EC93E6B52A2F57143E365FE1FC05833E&directory=
1B2D0F30B59D39A341B0C23CB2B204D9

David March | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>