Cholesterol Gets the 1-2 Punch

Published Online: Tuesday, July 1, 2003

The latest research indicates that taking 2 different types of cholesterol-lowering drugs reduces cholesterol in the blood better than taking either drug independently. Participants who took both atorvastatin and ezetimibe showed a larger decrease in cholesterol with no additional side effects, compared with patients who took either drug alone, according to findings published recently in Circulation. Atorvastatin inhibits the liver?s natural production of cholesterol, whereas ezetimibe works by preventing the intestines from absorbing cholesterol.

The researchers gave 628 patients with high cholesterol 1 of 4 treatments: ezetimibe alone, atorvastatin alone, ezetimibe plus ator-vastatin, or a placebo drug. After 12 weeks, the researchers discovered that participants taking the combination of the 2 cholesterol drugs showed a 12% larger drop in levels of low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol, compared with patients taking only atorvastatin. Furthermore, the combined treatment reduced levels of triglycerides and C-reactive protein more successfully than did atorvastatin alone, the authors of the study said.

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