7 Healthcast: Vytorin/Zetia
"I actually had concerns about the study a number of years ago when I heard the design," said cardiologist Linda Hemphill of Zetia.
Zetia lowers LDL or bad cholesterol. When Zetia is combined with the statin drug Zocor, the combination pill is called Vytorin.
A new two-year study of 720 people finds no evidence that Zetia or Vytorin prevent heart attacks or strokes.
"That drug has to show that it reduces heart attacks and strokes," Dr. Hemphill said. "The fact that it reduces LDL and reduced LDL reduces heart attack and strokes is not enough."
The drug manufacturer says a larger study is now underway.
So what's the bottom line when it comes to people taking Zetia or Vytorin?
"I've had a number of calls today and I tell them the Zetia gets the LDL lower, we know lower LDL is better, take your Zetia."
If you have questions contact your doctor. About 800,000 Americans take either Zetia or Vytorin everyday.
Merck and Shering-Plough manufacture the drugs.(Copyright (c) 2008 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)