WEDNESDAY, March 7, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Pfizer's anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) received expanded approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday to reduce users' risks of non-fatal heart attack, fatal and non-fatal strokes and hospitalization for heart failure, and for use in certain types of heart surgery, the company said.
The new approvals expand use of Lipitor to people who have had a prior heart attack, heart surgery or chest pain.
The expanded approval of the 80 mg. dose was based on a five-year trial involving people with both heart disease and elevated levels of LDL, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, Pfizer said. The company added that the trial was the longest and largest study of the 80 mg. dose's safety and effectiveness.
More than 15 million Americans have a history of coronary heart disease, Pfizer said, adding that about 300,000 Americans are expected to have a recurrent heart attack this year.
Lipitor was first approved by the FDA in 1996 to treat high cholesterol.
To learn more about Lipitor, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.