A growing number of clinical trials have examined the effects of different lipid lowering strategies in patients with renal disease. We carried out a meta-analysis to compare and contrast the relative efficacy of various antilipemic therapies in different renal disease settings. Studies that investigated one or more therapies designed to lower serum lipids were combined using weighted multiple linear regression. The analysis adjusted treatment effects for differences in baseline lipid levels and possible placebo effects. The results showed that antilipemic therapies generally had similar effects on lipids in different renal disease settings. In nephrotic syndrome the greatest and most consistent reductions in low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) were seen with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl co-enzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (regression coefficient with 95% confidence interval in mg/dl = -63, -79 to -46). Similar results were seen for LDL in renal transplant (-51, -57 to -45), renal insufficiency (-62, -82 to -42), hemodialysis (-65, -80 to -50) and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients (-84, -104 to -64). Fibric acid analogues had less effect on LDL, but caused greater reductions in triglycerides: -132, -178 to -87, in nephrotic syndrome; -69, -93 to -45 in transplant; -107, -169 to -45 in renal insufficiency; -72, -120 to -24 in hemodialysis; and -96, -162 to -30 in CAPD. In general, the effects of diet and other therapies were less consistent. Despite possible limitations of this meta-analysis, the results provide a useful framework for choosing antilipemic therapy, and point to areas for future long-term studies examining the safety and efficacy of lipid lowering strategies in patients with renal disease.