The Effects of Antihypertensive Drugs on Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins: II. Non-Diuretic Drugs

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This review examines the effects of various antihypertensive drugs on blood lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins. A large number of studies have documented the elevation of total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and very-low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol with many thiazide-type diuretic drugs, albeit mainly in short term studies. When added to thiazide diuretics, both β1-selective and non-selective β-blocking drugs elevate total triglycerides and VLDL triglycerides, lower high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and raise the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio. Most non-selective β-blockers have similar effects when used as monotherapy, but the β1-selective agents appear not to affect HDL cholesterol in monotherapy. Prazosin appears free of adverse lipid effects and has improved lipid-lipoprotein concentrations in many studies. Preliminary data on several other drugs also suggest a favourable lipid profile and additional study is warranted — among these are guanabenz, clonidine, pindolol, labetalol, indapamide, and guanfacine. Elevations in serum triglycerides are often ignored on various counts, but triglycerides have been found to be a strong risk factor in European studies and in women over the age of 50 years in the Framingham study. Despite the unfavourable short term effects of diuretics, the theoretical risk of the lipid-lipoprotein changes remains unclear because HDL cholesterol and the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio are often unchanged. For this and other reasons, a long term trial comparing thiazide-type diuretics with drugs with the most favourable lipid-lipoprotein profile is needed. Until this is accomplished, in most settings diuretic-based regimens are still preferred initially since they are of proven, if limited, efficacy against the cardiovascular complications of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-357
Number of pages23
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1986
Externally publishedYes


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