Vytorin, a cholesterol fighting drug, may not be effective at preventing heart attacks and strokes.
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The latest news is that an expensive medicine called Vytorin that's been heavily marketed on television with very attention grabbing ads may not be as good as preventing heart attacks as a much cheaper medicine called Zocor, that's also available in generic form. A study that was recently done, looked at 720 patients and of those 720 patients, they put a certain number of them on Vytorin, which is a combination of two medicines, and the other patients were put on Zocor, which is just the one medicine, and the two medicine that make up Vytorin are, a medicine that lowers cholesterol by preventing your bodies absorption of cholesterol from the food that you eat, and the second one is the medicine that lowers cholesterol by preventing your bodies production of cholesterol. This compared to the folks that were on Zocor, which is the medicine that reduces your cholesterol level by preventing your bodies production of cholesterol. So they compared the patients in these two categories and what they found was really surprising. They found that even though Vytorin lowered LDL levels, that's the bad cholesterol, the outcome, the end outcome that we all look at, and the reason for lowering your cholesterol levels, which is to decrease your heart attacks and your strokes, that never really happened. In fact, the patients who are on Vytorin had more plague built up in their carotid arteries, those are these arteries right here, that go up to your brain. They have more plague built up in those arteries than patients who are just down the cheap generic medicine Zocor. Well, a lot of doctors and even patients have called into question, why they have to take this medicine that's more expensive, that's now been shown to actually lead to more plague build up? So some doctors are actually taking their patients off the medicine, and telling them we'll just use this cheaper brand that is also available in generic form. But this isn't the final word. Medicine is composed of studies that are done over and over again to either prove of disprove facts. So while Vytorin has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels, that's the bad cholesterol, it's still needs to be shown whether or not it has a great long term result. And of course, the reason for lowering your LDL levels is that you'll have a lesser chance of developing either a heart attack or a stroke, or other kinds of artery disease in other parts of your body. There is another study that's planned. It will involve 20,000 patients and we will expect those results in a few years, to see whether or not Vytorin has that end result that we were looking for, we were looking for it to lead to fewer heart attacks, less strokes and less artery decease in the rest of your body. So we'll wait for those results to see whether or not it will actually do that. But for now, this latest study is calling it into question, and doctors and patients all over are also calling into question, why they have to take it? Vytorin was FDA approved. In fact, the reason it became FDA approved for lowering the risk of heart attacks, it was presumed is because it actually lowers LDL the bad cholesterol in patients more than Zocor, the generic medicine lowered the LDL or the bad cholesterol. So we thought, okay, since it lowers LDL more, then logically it must lead to a decreased risk of heart attacks. This last study has told us that's not necessarily true. We never know when we have done, enough testing, or if there is more testing down the road that will show us different outcomes and different affects. What we do know, is that the Gold standard in medicine, the best test that we have involves the greatest number of patients, and it is something called a Double Blinded Randomized Clinical Trial. That's what this type of study was.
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