Marketing or proven medicine?

March 22, 2011 2:47:10 PM PDT
Are some people being prescribed fibrates needlessly?

Fibrates are a class of drugs sometimes given to patients who cannot take the more familiar statin medications. They are also commonly added to statin drugs in a combination therapy. But studies show that adding fibrates to statins does not increase cholesterol lowering to benefit people with diabetes.

Yet a new study published in the "Journal Of The American Medical Association" finds prescriptions for fibrates increased more than 117-percent in the U.S. That increase was between 2002 and 2007. In Canada, fibrate prescriptions remained stable.

Some experts fear this is a triumph of marketing over medicine. It adds to concerns about a number of cholesterol lowering drugs and whether they are promoted to patients without proven benefits.