En Español [EXETROL ATAQUE AL CORAZÃ³N]Merck and Shering-Plough have announced that, based on a study of 720 patients, Vytorin, which combines Zetia (Ezetimibe) and Zocor (Simvastatin), does not reduce the growth of fatty arterial plaque. Rather, patients who took Vytorin had more plaque growth than patients who took only Zocor. In Canada, the drug Zetia is known as Ezetrol and is developed, marketed and sold by Merck Frosst/Schering Pharma GP. The drug Vytorin (a combination of Ezetrol/Zetia and Zocor) is not available in Canada. However, Canadian patients who are prescribed a combination of Ezetrol and Zocor to reduce bad cholesterol may be at risk.
The growth of fatty plaques is correlated to a risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The study, known as the ENHANCE trial, showed that the use of Zetia/Ezetrol and Zocor combined was no more effective than simply using a generic version of Zocor alone. The generic version of Zocor is a much less expensive treatment than the combination of Zocor and Zetia/ Ezetrol.
Now, Merck and Shering-Plough are under fire for delaying the release of the ENHANCE trial results. The study was completed in the spring of 2006, but results were only publicized in January 2008. This means that patients who have taken Zetia/Ezetrol have been doing so without knowledge of all the possible risks associated with the drug, while the drugs makers may have known for quite a while about those risks.
A study that shows whether or not patients taking Zetia/Ezetrol are at an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes will not be completed until 2011, almost nine years after Zetia/Ezetrol was approved for use.
The FDA based it's approval of Zetia/Ezetrol on clinical trials conducted on only 3,900 patients over 12 weeks, but even those trials showed that 11 times as many people who took Zetia/ Ezetrol with a statin developed serious health problems, compared with people who only took a statin.
Zetia/Ezetrol is designed to lower a patient's cholesterol, and therefore the risk of cardiovascular events, by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the intestines.
Ezetrol Heart Attack and Stroke ArticlesEzetrol: Canadian Version of Zetia Questioned
As if the Zetia and Vytorinissue wasn't enough of a frustration on its own, north of the border in Canada the Canadian equivalent of Zetiaâ"Ezetrolâ"is proving just as mystifying. At issue: does the cholesterol drug work? Is it harmful? And did the manufacturer, as it was accused of doing in the US, withhold important safety and efficacy information in an effort to protect sales?
Ezetrol: America's Problems are Canada's Problems... and You're Paying for Them
Nowadays, Canada's neighbors include the likes of pharmaceutical giants Merck/Schering Plough; they also include the US federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Merck/Schering and its Canadian subsidiary Merck Frosst is the big pharma consortium that manufactures and sells Ezetrol (Zetia in the US market), the anti-cholesterol drug that is now under close scrutiny after ENHANCE test results released in January indicated that it is no better (and quite possibly worse) than cheaper generic statin drugs at reducing arterial plaque and thus users' risk of heart attack and stroke. The FDA is the federal agency that approved Zetia/Ezetrol in October 2002.
Ezetrol Heart Attack and Stroke Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack or stroke while taking Ezetrol or Zetia, please click the link below to send your complaint to a lawyer to evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
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