Should I still take combination cholesterol drugs, such as Vytorin or Liptruzet?

Published: July 11, 2014 04:15 PM

Photo: Burlingham

No. There is no evidence that Liptruzet—a combination of atorvastatin and ezetimibe—works better than atorvastatin alone, according to Merck, the manufacturer of the combo pill. And, two studies cast doubt on the benefits of Vytorin, which combines simvastatin with ezetimibe in a single pill. A two-year study showed Vytorin was no better than simvastatin alone in reducing plaque buildup in arteries. And a five-year study showed Vytorin did not reduce heart attacks or strokes compared to a placebo.

And anyway, cholesterol treatment guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association released in 2013 focus more on lowering a person’s overall 10-year risk of heart attack and stroke, as opposed to just lowering your LDL cholesterol level (the “bad” cholesterol) to a certain target amount. Because of that, the latest cholesterol treatment guidelines advise against using any combination statin drug.

To learn more about statin drugs to treat high cholesterol, check our new Best Buy Drugs report. You can also use this risk calculator to find out what your 10-year risk of heart attack or stroke is. You’ll need to know your total and HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

—Steve Mitchell

Editor's Note:

This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).

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