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SEAS Conducts Trial Of Cholesterol-Lowering Drug

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Study results show the effects of the combination cholesterol-lowering medicine ezetimibe and simvastatin (Vytorin) on aortic stenosis and coronary heart disease in 1873 patients. These results raised questions about the combination drug, and a subsequent meta-analysis of this and two larger, on-going studies was also reported.

Reducing cholesterol is critical for treating coronary heart disease and reducing heart attack risk. American Heart Association guidelines have long recommended a healthy lifestyle and, if needed, medications for lowering cholesterol. Statins are highly effective and are usually the initial medication given. The Association recommends that people who are taking prescribed cholesterol-lowering medicines should not stop them without first consulting their healthcare provider, because it could put them at higher risk for having a heart attack or other cardiovascular event.

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In the SEAS study results released today, researchers found that while the drug did significantly reduce LDL cholesterol and major cardiovascular events, it did not effect the progression of aortic stenosis – a narrowing of the valve that lets blood exit from the heart’s main pumping chamber.

In the safety analysis of the drug in this study, there was a significant increase in cancers in patients taking the drug versus those taking a placebo. However, a meta-analysis, including more than 21,000 patients, showed no indication of an increase in the overall risk of cancer. The chairpersons of the three research studies have come to the conclusion that the use of the combination drug shows no clear increase in the overall risk of cancer.

It is important that patients who need to lower their cholesterol adhere to all the recommendations of their healthcare provider. If patients have concerns, they should contact their healthcare provider to make an informed decision about their specific healthcare needs.