News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinecabal-elitecorporatepharmaceutical — Viewing Item

Cholesterol meds lower test results not improving health { January 15 2008 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Cholesterol Medications only lower test results, not improve health

Drug Doesn't Slow Artery Clogs, Study Says
Finding Indicates Vytorin Lacks Positive Side Effect of Other Cholesterol Medications

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 15, 2008; A03

A popular cholesterol-lowering drug failed to help slow the buildup of artery-clogging plaque in a long-awaited study, the companies that market the medication said yesterday, raising questions about whether its use should be limited.

The drug, Vytorin (a combination of Zetia and Zocor), also did not reduce the thickness of plaque lining artery walls, a significant disappointment for the manufacturers.

"Obviously, we would have preferred a more favorable result," said Skip Irvine, a spokesman for Merck-Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture between the two companies that markets both Zetia and Vytorin.

Other experts said the findings mark a major blow for the medications.

"This is stunning," said Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist who was not involved in the research. "I do not believe it should be used as a first-line therapy. It should only be used as a last resort. That's a stunning reversal for what was previously one of the fastest-growing cholesterol-lowering medications being used."

The companies disputed Nissen's conclusions, saying the study showed once again that Zetia was highly effective at lowering cholesterol levels. The companies are sponsoring another large study aimed at evaluating the drug's ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

"We expect that study to be completed sometime in 2011," Irvine said.

Zetia was approved in 2002, and Vytorin was approved in 2004. Both quickly became popular. Doctors wrote about 18 million prescriptions for Vytorin and about 14 million for Zetia in 2006, making them among the most commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, and their popularity has continued to grow, according to IMS Health, a health-care information company.

Previous studies have shown Zetia and Vytorin are effective at lowering cholesterol, but other medications that do this have been shown to have additional benefits, such as slowing the buildup of plaque or sometimes even shrinking it, and reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes and lowering mortality rates.

The new company-sponsored study was the first attempt to demonstrate Vytorin's ability to slow the progression of heart disease. It involved 720 patients in Europe suffering from a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol levels. About half the patients received Vytorin, and the other half received Zocor alone.

After two years, ultrasound measurements of plaque buildup in neck arteries found no significant difference between the two groups, and even indicated that those receiving Vytorin may have experienced slightly more buildup.

"It failed to slow buildup of plaques," Nissen said. "If anything, the trends were going in the wrong direction -- the patients getting Zetia actually had a little faster plaque buildup compared to those who got generic Zocor."

There were no signs that patients taking Vytorin were any more likely to suffer side effects or heart problems, but Nissen and others said the study suggests that putting patients on the medications denies them the additional benefits of competing drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor.

"Whenever you use an ineffective treatment, it means you are denying them effective treatments," Nissen said.

The companies have come under criticism from cardiologists and members of Congress for failing to release the findings sooner.

2008 The Washington Post Company

40 percent of americans take prescription drugs
ADD drugs give hallucinations of bugs and snakes { March 22 2006 }
American painkiller use skyrocketing
Anti depresents linked to suicide
Antibiotic causes liver damage
Antidepressant use by adults surges { December 3 2004 }
Antidepressants addictive to some people { August 6 2006 }
Antidepressants remove obsessive focus of love
Antidepressiants increases chance of suicide { December 13 2006 }
Arthritis drugs causing cancer in childen { April 29 2008 }
Bayer sent riskier drug asia latinamerica { May 22 2003 }
Birth defects from paxil in pregnant women { December 8 2005 }
Canada makes drug deals with 2 states against fda wishes { October 5 2004 }
Cholesterol drug causes kidney damage contradicting fda { May 24 2005 }
Cholesterol meds lower test results not improving health { January 15 2008 }
Clinical trials biased by profit funding
Company hid heartattack data for painkiller { December 8 2005 }
Congressman moves retired to drug lobby
Dc council legislation blocks pharmaceutical price gounging { September 21 2005 }
Doctor gives anti depressants to 4 yr old girl
Doctors get kickbacks to promote drugs
Doctors prescribe paxil whenever asked { April 27 2005 }
Drug aleve increases stroke heart attack risk { December 21 2004 }
Drug bill well financed victory
Drug company criminal charges { May 31 2003 }
Drug firms hide studies showing suicidal behavior { September 10 2004 }
Drug firms hype up diseases to boost sales
Drug leader at NIH takes pharmaceutical money { December 22 2004 }
Fda accused too cozy with pharmaceuticals { November 18 2004 }
Fda approval surprises many doctors
Fda prevented drug expert from speaking on anti depressants { April 16 2004 }
Fda wants suicide warning on anti depressants { March 23 2004 }
Fda whistle blower seeks legal help { November 24 2004 }
Fraud studies made by drug company { March 2008 }
Man arrested if not medicating child with drugs { June 7 2004 }
Mccain knocks steroids baseball
Minnesota school shooter using prozac and others { March 26 2005 }
More anti depressant drug warnings by fda
New diabetes pill poses deadly risk
New york state sues paxil company over coverup { June 3 2004 }
Newer antipsychotic drugs more costly less effective { September 20 2005 }
Parents reverse child hyper activity without drugs { December 22 2006 }
Paxil link found with birth defects
Pharmaceutical cholesterol drugs not lowering risk
Pharmaceutical companies court doctors for sells { April 11 2008 }
Pharmaceutical companies using tax exempt charities { June 28 2006 }
Pharmaceutical secrecy on antidepressant data { January 29 2004 }
Pharmaceuticals in tap water through sewage { March 10 2008 }
Pharmaceuticals pay fda more for speedy approvals { November 22 2006 }
Return of vioxx unusual not unprecendented
Rise of european behavior controlling drug
Ritalin could be dangerous to heart { February 10 2006 }
Senators told fda too cozy with drug industry { November 18 2004 }
Sharp rise in ritalin { July 19 2003 }
Sleeping pill causes sleep driving { March 15 2007 }
Sleeping pills once a day increase death rate { March 23 2006 }
Statin drug takers suffer heart attacks anyway
Study criticizes painkiller marketing { January 25 2005 }
Study drugs for students growing { June 11 2006 }
Study shows no good effect from anti depressants { February 25 2008 }
Suicide risk increase with antidepressants { February 18 2005 }
Supreme court allows pharmaceutical to bulldoze homes { June 23 2005 }
Teens increasing pharmaceutical drug abuse { April 21 2005 }
Teens use pharmaceutical drugs to get high { December 21 2006 }
Unapproved drug tested on children in nigeria { May 7 2006 }
Unfavorable drug studies never reported
Viox risk seen with short term use { May 17 2006 }
Women participating in lilly drug trial hangs self { February 9 2004 }

Files Listed: 68


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple