The fibrates—fenofibrate (Antara, Fenoglide, Lipofen, Lofibra, Tricor, Triglide, Trilipix) and gemfibrozil (Lopid)—are the treatment of choice for individuals with markedly increased levels of blood triglycerides (500 mg/dL or higher). However, fibrates can cause an increase in LDL cholesterol levels. When this occurs, a statin can be added to combat the rise.

Benefits of Fibrates

Fibrates reduce triglyceride levels by 20 to 50 percent. They also raise HDL cholesterol by about 10 percent.

Side effects of Fibrates

A fibrate in combination with a statin can improve LDL cholesterol levels but causes muscle inflammation in about 1 percent of people. This problem is far more common with gemfibrozil than with fenofibrate. Although the muscle inflammation is reversible, both drugs must be promptly discontinued, since persistent, severe inflammation can cause kidney failure. Call your doctor immediately if you experience unusual or unexplained muscle aches. Less serious side effects include constipation and stomach upset or pain.

Publication Review By: Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D. and Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D.

Published: 08 Jul 2011

Last Modified: 15 Jan 2015