Should hyperlipidemia in children with the nephrotic syndrome be treated?
The pathogenesis, clinical significance, and treatment options of the disturbances in lipid metabolism in children with persistent nephrotic syndrome are reviewed. The lipoprotein profile is characterized by elevations of total plasma cholesterol and often triglycerides, elevated very low-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, whereas high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels are variable; plasma levels of the atherogenic and thrombogenic lipoprotein(a) are also elevated. The pathophysiology of nephrotic dyslipoproteinemia is multifactorial, including both an increased hepatic synthesis and a diminished plasma catabolism of lipoproteins. There is a rationale for treatment, since dyslipidemia may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and the progression of chronic renal failure. However, the benefits of treatment with lipid-lowering drugs have not been proven. Short-term studies in adults with nephrotic syndrome have documented safety and efficacy of lipid-lowering drugs, including hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors (”statins”), bile acid sequestrants, fibric acids, fish oil, and probucol. Statins are the most-effective medication, resulting in a decrease of total cholesterol levels by about 30%–40%. Prospective controlled studies in children evaluating efficacy and safety of lipid-lowering drugs are needed.
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