OBJECTIVE: This retrospective study was designed to assess the effects of the combination of pioglitazone and extended-release niacin on the lipid panel, particularly HDL-cholesterol, when used in patients with type 2 diabetes in an endocrinology specialty practice. METHODS: The electronic medical records of 434 adult patients with type 2 diabetes receiving extended-release niacin and pioglitazone were screened for review. Patients with type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia were included for review if they received the combination of pioglitazone at doses >/= 15 mg/day and extended-release niacin (Niaspan) at doses >/= 1000 mg/day for >/=6 months. Statistical analysis used paired t-tests with p < 0.05 as statistically significant. Both ANOVA and the Tukey-Kramer test for multiple comparisons (alpha = 0.05) were also used. RESULTS: A total of 47 patients, 83% were men with average age of 58, met all eligibility criteria for the study. Compared with baseline, a statistically significant increase in HDL-C (+ 25.13%, p < 0.0001) was observed at the conclusion of combination therapy. The HDL-C levels progressively increased with duration of combination treatment, and were not correlated with concomitant statin use. Significant decreases in total cholesterol and triglycerides were detected, and HbA1c decreased 0.84% during combination therapy for all therapies combined. CONCLUSION: The combination of pioglitazone and extended-release niacin in patients with type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia, used in commonly prescribed doses for at least 6 months, resulted in statistically significant improvements in HDL-C, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, and did not result in deteriorations in glycemic control.
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