Lipitor Approved for New Heart Disease Indications

First time cholesterol-lowering drug has been approved to reduce hospitalizations for heart failure

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved five new indications for Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium). The drug can now be prescribed to heart disease patients to reduce the risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction, fatal and non-fatal strokes, some types of heart surgery, hospitalization for heart failure and chest pain.

"These new indications are important since many patients who have heart disease remain at risk for another cardiovascular event, and now these indications broaden the means to reduce their risk," said John C. LaRosa, M.D., of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, in a statement. LaRosa was lead investigator for the Treating to New Targets trial.

The trial was conducted over five years among 10,000 patients with heart disease and elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Major cardiovascular events were reduced by 22 percent among patients taking 80 mg/day of Lipitor, versus those taking 10 mg/day, and they also had a 26 percent lower likelihood of hospitalization for heart failure.

Lipitor is manufactured by Pfizer, Inc., of New York, N.Y.

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