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October 2013

Hypertriglyceridemia: What the Dermatologist Needs to Know

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Veterans Association Hospital, West Haven, Connecticut
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(10):1145-1146. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4316

At times, dermatologists care for patients whose sole problems relate to the skin and are without primary care providers. In addition, these patients’ dermatologic issues may relate to cutaneous manifestations of systemic cholesterol or triglyceride imbalances. Normal serum triglyceride levels range from 10 to 70 mg/dL (to convert to millimoles per liter, multiply by 0.0113); values greater than 150 mg/dL are considered abnormal. Triglycerides are generally measured after fasting for 8 to 12 hours.1 Hypertriglyceridemia, defined as a triglyceride level above 200 mg/dL, is an occasional adverse effect of certain dermatologic therapies, particularly vitamin A derivatives (eg, isotretinoin, acitretin, bexarotene), used in acne, psoriasis, and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and atypical antipsychotics (eg, aripiprazole, quetiapine fumarate), used in delusions of parasitosis. Furthermore, elevated triglyceride level may be a component of certain dermatologic conditions, such as xanthelasma, eruptive xanthomas, and psoriasis. Hypertriglyceridemia is also associated with diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism, chronic kidney disease, obesity, physical inactivity, very high-carbohydrate diets, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol intake, pregnancy, and use of various medications such as corticosteroids, thiazides, protease inhibitors, β-blockers, estrogen-containing oral contraceptives, agents used in hormone therapy, and tamoxifen citrate.1

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