Date: 23 Aug 2014

Favourable effects of fenofibrate on lipids and cardiovascular disease in women with type 2 diabetes: results from the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study

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In the double-blind placebo-controlled Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes trial (n = 9,795), fenofibrate reduced major cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetes. Sex-related differences in fenofibrate response could be clinically relevant and were pre-specified analyses.


Women (n = 3,657) and men (n = 6,138) with type 2 diabetes not using statins were assigned fenofibrate (200 mg/day) or placebo for 5 years. Effects on lipoproteins and total cardiovascular events were evaluated by sex.


Baseline total, LDL-, HDL- and non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoproteins A-I and B differed between sexes, and these and triacylglycerol levels improved with fenofibrate in both sexes (all p < 0.001). Fenofibrate reduced total, LDL- and non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B more in women (all p < 0.001), independent of menopausal status and statin uptake. Adjusted for covariates, fenofibrate reduced total cardiovascular outcomes (cardiovascular death, fatal and non-fatal stroke and carotid and coronary revascularisation) by 30% in women (95% CI 8%, 46%; p = 0.008) and 13% in men (95% CI −1%, 24%; p = 0.07) with no treatment-by-sex interaction (p > 0.1). In patients with high triacylglycerol levels and low HDL-cholesterol, fenofibrate reduced total cardiovascular outcomes by 30% (95% CI −7%, 54%) in women and 24% (95% CI 2%, 42%) in men, with no treatment-by-sex interaction (p > 0.1).


Fenofibrate improved the lipoprotein profile more in women than men. Cardiovascular event reductions with fenofibrate were consistently similar in women and men, both overall and among those with low HDL-cholesterol and high triacylglycerol levels. These data provide reassurance about fenofibrate efficacy in women and men. Both sexes with type 2 diabetes should be considered for fenofibrate therapy for cardioprotection.