Saturday, June 11, 2011

Death blow for Zetia? (ezetimibe) Dr. William Davis

Posted: 11/25/2009 11:14:54 AM

The recent results of the ARBITER6-HALTS trial, I believe, should cause us to eliminate Zetia (ezetimibe) from our list of agents regarded as safe.

In all honesty, despite some of the negative press on Zetia, especially in regards to the data suggesting no effect on carotid plaque in people with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, I had maintained hope that a subset of people who are "hyperabsorbers" of sterol-backbone substances, such as the various forms of sterols, would benefit from Zetia's capacity to block their absorption. But the ARBITER trial, I believe, essentially closes the lid on Zetia, regardless of any potential effect on sterol absorption.

The study demonstrates that niacin in combination with a statin (mostly Lipitor or Crestor) reduces carotid intimal-medial thickness (CIMT) modestly; while Zetia does not when added to statin.

Most concerningly, greater LDL-reducing efficacy with Zetia was associated with an increase in CIMT.  The authors raise the question, suggested in prior studies, that Zetia, despite being billed as only a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, exerts other effects when systemically absorbed, including impairment of reverse cholesterol transport.

I believe that enough doubt has been cast on the efficacy and safety of Zetia that we should avoid its inclusion. Of course, speak to your doctor before making any changes. 


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