Open Access Research article

Lipid management in the prevention of stroke: a meta-analysis of fibrates for stroke prevention

Yu-Hao Zhou, Xiao-Fei Ye, Fei-Fei Yu, Xiao Zhang, Ying-Yi Qin, Jian Lu and Jia He*

Author affiliations

Department of Health Statistics, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, 200433, China

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Neurology 2013, 13:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-1

Published: 3 January 2013



Fibrates has been extensively used to improve plasma lipid levels and prevent adverse cardiovascular outcomes. However, the effect of fibrates on stroke is unclear at the present time. We therefore carried out a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of fibrates on stroke.


We systematically searched Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, reference lists of articles, and proceedings of major meetings to identify studies for our analysis. We included randomized placebo controlled trials which reported the effects of fibrates on stroke. Relative risk (RR) was used to measure the effect of fibrates on the risk of stroke under random effect model. The analysis was further stratified by factors that could affect the treatment effects.


Overall, fibrate therapy was not associated with a significant reduction on the risk of stroke (RR, 1.02, 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.16, P = 0.78). In the subgroup analyses, we observed that gemfibrozil therapy showed a beneficial effect on stroke (RR, 0.72, 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.98, P = 0.04). Similarly, fibrate therapy comparing to placebo had no effect on the incidence of fatal stroke. Subgroup analysis suggested that fibrate therapy showed an effect on fatal stroke when the Jadad score more than 3 (RR, 0.41, 95% CI, 0.17 to 1.00, P = 0.049). Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis indicated that fibrate therapy may play a role in fatal stroke (RR, 0.49, 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.93, P = 0.03) for patients with previous diabetes, cardiovascular disease or stroke.


Our study indicated that fibrate therapy might play an important role in reducing the risk of fatal stroke in patients with previous diabetes, cardiovascular disease or stroke. However, it did not have an effect on the incidence of stroke.

Fibrates; Stroke; Meta-analysis