Scorin' Vytorin

  • by: |
  • 01/16/2008
Have a look at today’s New York Times house editorial, “Cholesterol Drug Bombs.”

There are a number of issues going on here, but pay particular attention to these two paragraphs:

“There are reasons to be cautious about interpreting these results. The number of patients was relatively small. And many of them may have used different drug treatments for years before entering the trial, possibly diminishing the effectiveness of adding Zetia …

The findings also raise doubts about the current belief that lowering cholesterol is the key to cardiovascular health. The study showed that Vytorin reduced bad cholesterol significantly more than Zocor alone. The problem was that it failed to reduce the formation of plaque.”

Here’s what well-respected cardiologist (and CMPI board chairman) Dr. Michael Weber has to say:

“The study with Vytorin looked only at surrogate endpoints, not morbidity and mortality. The ongoing clinical outcomes trials will answer the questions definitively. We must hope that the alarmist comments by certain opinion leaders quoted in the lay press will not compromise the integrity of these critical studies by intimidating the patients who have been enrolled. We should not forget that many people simply cannot use statins in full doses due to side effects, so properly studying Zetia and Vytorin is absolutely vital.”

As to whether or not clinical data was withheld (or as the Times writes, “cynically" sat on) is another issue altogether and cannot be allowed to muddy the far more important clinical questions.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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