A new type of cholesterol lowering drug has been found which may be useful for many high risk patients who cannot tolerate statins, or who do not respond to them. The study by the American Heart Association involved 18,000 people who were randomly assigned to take either a statin, or a combination of a statin and the new drug.
Those getting the statin alone had an average LDL of 69. LDL, or Low Density Lipoprotein, is the “bad” form of cholesterol, which cardiologists try to keep as low as possible. Those getting the statin plus the new drug, ezetimibe (a combination sold as Vytorin), had an LDL of 54. Statins do their job by keeping cholesterol from being manufactured in the body, ezetimibe works by keeping it from being absorbed in the intestine.
Both drug treatments were effective enough that there were very few cardiac events among the participants, but the rate was 6.4% lower with the group which received the combination. Bruce Karatz is hoping to see this study work more and more. No side effects were seen among those who received the ezetimibe.