Cholesterol Drugs Don't Work As Advertised
January 15, 2008, 3:04 PM
Trial tests for two popular cholesterol-lowering drugs show that the medications don't work as advertised.
The study tested more than 700 people with very high cholesterol to find out if a combination of the drug, Zetia, and the statin drug, Zocor, worked better than Zocor alone. The surprising findings are that the combination, known as Vytorin has absolutely no beneficial effect on patients and may actually be responsible for more heart problems.
The latest studies show that Zetia alone can reduce cholesterol levels by 20 percent, but it has no effect whatsoever on reducing patients' risk for heart attack or stroke. No only that, but in combination with Zocor, the fatty plaques which can be associated with heart attacks and strokes doubled in size in the patients who took Vytorin, as compared to those taking only Zocor.
So what should you do if Zetia or Vytorin are in your medicine cabinet tonight?
Dr. Steve Nissen, chief of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic says, "Patients should always talk to their doctor. No one should ever stop taking medication because they hear a news report. My advice to physicians is not use this drug Vytorin nor to use Zetia as first line agents anymore. These should be really relegated to drugs of last resort."
Nearly one million prescriptions are written for these two drugs every week, making it a 5 billion dollar a year drug for its makers, Merck and Schering-Plough. It's also important to remember that cholesterol reduction is not just a function of taking medication, cholesterol levels can also be lowered through proper diet, weight loss and getting plenty of exercise.
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