The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Friday, December 21, 2007

The goal is to reduce deaths, not cholesterol

The NY Times reports today that unreleased data on the cholesterol-lowering drug Zetia, which earns $5 billion each year for its makers Merck and Schering, raises the possibility of liver damage, especially when the drug is taken in combination with a statin drug for lowering cholesterol.

New evidence shows that the drug makers Merck and Schering-Plough have conducted several studies of their popular cholesterol medicine Zetia that raise questions about its risks to the liver, but the companies have never published those

Partial results of the studies, alluded to in documents on the Food and Drug Administration's Web site, raise questions about whether Zetia can cause liver damage when used long term with other cholesterol drugs called statins.

Most of the millions of people who use Zetia take it along with a statin like Lipitor, Crestor, or Zocor. Or they take it in a single pill, Vytorin, that combines Zetia with Zocor...

All drugs have potential risks and side effects, of course, and doctors and patients must weigh those against a drug’s medical benefits. But in the case of Zetia, despite its widespread use, there is no evidence proving that Zetia can reduce heart attacks and strokes, as cholesterol drugs are meant to do. There is extensive medical evidence showing that Lipitor and other statins provide such

One expert, Dr. Beatrice Golomb of UC San Diego, suggests that doctors are missing the purpose of prescribing cholesterol drugs. The goal should be about reducing deaths from heart attack and stroke, not merely lowering the cholesterol number on a drug test. And there is not sufficient evidence that Zetia can actually prevent heart attacks. The company even says so in their television ads for Zetia! Their online advertising states clearly, " Unlike some statins, ZETIA has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks. "

Why suffer the risk of liver damage without proven benefits? Why not look to one of the many non-toxic ways of lowering cholesterol that actually do reduce cardiac deaths, like fish oils, for example?


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