Fenofibrate is part of a class of drugs known as fibric acid derivatives (also known as fibrates). It works by increasing the production of an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) that breaks down triglyceride-rich particles (VLDL) and increases their removal from the body. The medication can also decrease the amount of these particles that are made and released from the liver. Depending on the type of cholesterol problem you have, fenofibrate may also:
- Decrease LDL and total cholesterol levels
- Increase HDL cholesterol
- Decrease fibrinogen (another risk factor for heart disease and strokes)
- Increase the excretion of uric acid.
Since fenofibrate can lower both LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels (along with lowering total cholesterol and increasing HDL), a person can decrease his or her risk of developing certain health problems associated with these conditions by taking it.
In clinical research studies, people taking fenofibrate daily were able to:
- Reduce triglyceride levels by 20 to 55 percent
- Reduce LDL cholesterol by 20 to 30 percent*
- Reduce total cholesterol by 10 to 20 percent
- Raise HDL cholesterol by 10 to 20 percent.
*In studies where people had triglyceride levels greater than 350 mg/dL, fenofibrate actually raised LDL levels.
Some general considerations for when and how to take fenofibrate include the following:
- Fenofibrate comes as a capsule or tablet, depending on the brand.
- The medication is taken by mouth once a day.
- Some brands of fenofibrate should be taken during a meal (Lofibra, Fenoglide, or Lipofen). For others (Tricor, Triglide, and Antara), you can take the medication with or without food.
- The medication should be taken at the same time every day to help maintain an even level in the blood. Do not take it more often than directed.
- For fenofibrate to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. The drug will not work if you stop taking it.
- If you are taking a bile acid sequestrant, make sure to take your fenofibrate more than one hour before the bile acid sequestrant or more than four hours after. Bile acid sequestrants include: