Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Nail In The Coffin for Cholesterol-Lowering Medications

How many studies have to be done which show a drug is a failure before doctors will stop using it?  It is a very interesting question in light to the news headlines today about the block-buster cholesterol drug Zetia (Zetia is also part of the drug Vytorin). 

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM. 2009;361) released a study today (11.16.09) which showed Zetia, a drug that brought in over $3.5 billion for Big Pharma Merck in 2008, causes more harm than good.  In fact, this study compared Zetia to the b-vitamin Niacin and its effects on atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries.  The authors of the study reported that the Niacin-treated group had showed a 2% decline in buildup of the carotid arteries while those treated with Zetia had no effect.  Furthermore, there were fewer heart attacks in the niacin-treated group (2) as compared to the Zetia group (9). 

You might guess that Zetia must have raised cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels.  Wrong.  Zetia lowered both cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol more than the niacin-treated group.  What is going on here?

What happened in this study is explained in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do.  Cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol are not bad chemicals. They are necessary agents for the body.  Chemically blocking their absorption (the mechanism of Zetia) is a recipe for disaster. 

This study is another nail in the coffin of the cholesterol=heart disease hypothesis.  You must educate yourself about the mechanism of action of the most commonly prescribed drugs in order to make an appropriate decision if taking that drug is right for you.  Thirteen million prescriptions for Zetia were written in the U.S. in 2008.  This is a travesty.  This is a drug that not only does no good, it causes harm.  This drug should be removed from the market.  If you are on Zetia or Vytorin I suggest you ask your doctor to reevaluate your situation. 


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