A controversy that went on for years revolved around Zetia and Vytorin from Merck and their capacity to actually prevent heart attacks, as many have thought them to have no positive effects whatsoever. But a study released Monday may revolutionise the manner in which doctors treat patients with heart attacks or severe chest pain. Dr. Chris Cannon of Brigham and Women’s Hospital presented the findings at a meeting of the American Heart Association. “We see benefits of taking cholesterol levels that are low to very low in the post-heart attack patients,” said Cannon.
In a nutshell Merck & Co.’s Vytorin has successfully passed all the trials and listed as the best cholesterol lowering drug. It is a combination of Statins and Zeita. Statins is a highly used drug for the treatment of bad cholesterol in the blood. It reduces the cholesterol level present in the liver, whereas Zeita inhibits the absorption of the cholesterol. Unfortunately, Statins do not suit every patient as some people complain about the digestive problems, liver damage and muscle pain.
Researchers involved in this study examined data coming from 18,000 patients who were at high risk of a second stroke. They followed the history of patients who were hospitalized nearly six years ago. Later on, the researchers concluded that patients who take Statins along with Zeita reduced the chances of heart strokes up to 6.4 percent.
In other words patients on Vytorin, which is a combination of ezetimibe (sold under the brand name Zetia) and the statin simvastatin, had an average LDL cholesterol of 54 mg/dL, compared with 69 mg/dL for those treated with just the statin. “This reminds us that the cholesterol story is true and that lowering cholesterol reduces heart disease,” said Cannon.
“The whole lesson we’ve had in the last 10 years is that some drugs that make your labs look better don’t necessarily improve your outcomes,”
said Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Every drug has to be tested individually, he explained, warning against drawing broader conclusions from a trial like this one.
“These drugs have 1,000 effects and we’re measuring one.”
The study was funded by Merck and was carried out in multiple parts around the world. Amongst the cardiovascular medicines around the globe, Vytorin has enjoyed the limelight of being the most controversial of all the drugs available.