Introduction: Postprandial hyperlipidemia is a common feature of the atherogenic dyslipidemia in patients with type 2 diabetes. Quantification of this with oral fat tolerance tests is not used routinely in clinical practice and abnormal postprandial lipids are usually inferred from non-fasting plasma triglyceride levels. Identifying excessive postprandial hyperlipidemia may help to refine cardiovascular risk assessment but there are no treatments currently available which selectively target postprandial lipids and no large cardiovascular outcome trials using this as the entry criterion. Areas covered: In this review of relevant published material, we summarize the findings from the most important publications in this area. Expert opinion: Postprandial hyperlipidemia appears to contribute to the cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetes. Non-fasting triglyceride levels provide a surrogate marker of postprandial hyperlipidemia but more specific markers such as apoB48 levels may prove to be more reliable. Omega-3 fatty acids, fibrates and ezetimibe can reduce postprandial lipids but may not correct them completely. Several novel treatments have been developed to target hypertriglyceridemia and some of these may be particularly effective in improving postprandial levels. Further clinical trials are needed to establish the role of postprandial lipids in assessment of cardiovascular risk and to identify the most effective treatments.
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