Cholesterol-Lowering Combo Approved

Fights the artery clogging substance 2 ways

WEDNESDAY, July 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The latest statin drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration packs a one-two punch, combining two medications that simultaneously inhibit production of cholesterol by the liver and block absorption of cholesterol from food in the intestines.

Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) is produced by two of the world's largest drug makers -- Merck and Schering-Plough. In 12-week clinical trials involving 1,528 patients with LDL (bad) cholesterol levels of between 145 mg/dl and 250 mg/dl, LDL levels were reduced by 52 percent to 60 percent, depending on the administered dose, the manufacturers said in a statement.

They recommend that doctors who prescribe the once-daily pill monitor patients for signs of liver problems, both before and during treatment.

Frequently reported side effects during clinical trials included headache, upper respiratory tract infection, muscle pain, and pain in the arms and legs.

For information about the dangers of high cholesterol, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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