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Helsinki Heart Study

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • double-blind, placebo-controlled trial - included 4,081 men aged 40-55 years who were free of CHD at the start of the study
  • active treatment - gemfibrozil 1,200 mg per day - 2051 randomised to receive gemfibrozil, 2030 randomised to receive placebo
  • follow-up period - 5 years
  • mean baseline lipid levels at the start of the study - total cholesterol 7.0 mmol/L, LDL-c 4.9 mmol/L, HDL-c 1.22 mmol/L, triglyceride 2.0 mmol/L
  • over the 5 year period of the study
    • gemfibrozil led to a mean increase in HDL-c of 11% and reduction in total cholesterol, LDL-C and serum triglyceride by 10%
    • cumulative rate of total cardiac end points was 27.3 per 1000 in the gemfibrozil group and 41.4 per 1000 in the placebo group (relative reduction of 34% (p<0.2))
    • no significant difference between groups in total death rate
    • the main benefit of the gemfibrozil treatment group was seen in patients who had one or more features of metabolic syndrome e.g. plasma triglyceride > 2.3 mmol/L, HDL-c<1.0mmol/L or body mass index > 26 (2)


  1. N Engl J Med. 1987 Nov 12;317(20):1237-45
  2. The British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease 2003; 3(3): 162-7.

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