Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cholesterol drug shows benefits for kidney patients, study suggests

Date:
November 28, 2010
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
A combination drug that lowers levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the blood can benefit people with chronic kidney disease and is safe, a new study suggests.

A combination drug that lowers levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the blood can benefit people with chronic kidney disease and is safe, a study led by the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Oxford University has found.

Patients receiving the daily pill -- a combination of simvastatin and ezetimibe produced by Merck -- had one-sixth fewer heart attacks, strokes or operations to unblock arteries than those receiving a placebo 'dummy' pill. The study findings were reported at an American Society of Nephrology conference in Denver, USA.

Chronic kidney disease is very common, affecting up to one in twenty of the middle-aged population, and substantially more of those who are older. Although people with chronic kidney disease are known to have an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack, it has been very unclear what treatments could prevent these conditions in this group of patients.

Dr Martin Landray, co-principal investigator at Oxford's Clinical Trial Service Unit, said: 'Over the past couple of decades, we have increasingly recognized that chronic kidney disease is associated with a high risk of cardiovascular complications, and have realised that kidney disease is common. But we have failed so far to identify any treatments that are effective in reducing that risk.

'The SHARP trial results now provide clear evidence that lowering cholesterol with ezetimibe/simvastatin safely reduces the risk of major atherosclerotic events. This is the first trial that has demonstrated that the high risk of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular diseases can be reduced in these patients.'

The Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP) involved almost 9,500 volunteers aged 40 or over with chronic kidney disease. Those taking part came from 380 hospitals in 18 countries and had lost more than 50% of their normal kidney function, with a third of them requiring dialysis treatment. None had had a previous heart attack or needed bypass surgery or 'stents' to unblock their heart arteries.

Volunteers in this double-blind placebo-controlled trial were randomly allocated to take either cholesterol-lowering therapy with a tablet containing ezetimibe 10mg daily and simvastatin 20mg daily, or matching placebo tablets. Study treatment and follow-up continued for an average of 5 years.

In that time, 11.3% of patients (526 out of 4650) taking the drug had a heart attack, stroke or needed an operation to unblock an artery compared with 13.4% (619 of 4620) in the placebo group. That's a reduction of a sixth in the likelihood of these events.

Professor Colin Baigent of the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Oxford University, the trial's principal investigator, said: 'This is excellent news for patients who have kidney disease.

'It was already known that cholesterol-lowering could reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and the need for surgery to unblock arteries in people with normal kidney function. But this trial now shows that cholesterol-lowering has similar effects in people with chronic kidney disease, irrespective of the severity of their illness.'

During the 5-year period of the trial, the proportion of patients who stopped taking their allocated treatment was about one third, but this was not generally due to side-effects and was the same for both real and dummy treatments. If taken without interruption, however, ezetimibe plus simvastatin could have even larger effects than were seen in SHARP, the researchers note. Taking ezetimibe plus simvastatin long-term could avoid around one quarter of heart attacks, strokes and operations to unblock arteries, leading to their prevention in at least 250,000 people with kidney disease worldwide each year.

Importantly there were no safety concerns with the drug, which is already being taken by many people with normal kidney function to lower their cholesterol.

There was no support for previous concerns with ezetimibe about possible adverse effects on cancer, and no evidence of an increased risk of muscle or liver problems.

Dr Landray said: 'There was no evidence of any serious adverse effects and, in particular, no support for earlier concerns that ezetimibe might cause cancer. SHARP shows clearly that the large cholesterol reduction produced with this treatment is safe, and provides similar benefits to those seen in people with normal kidney function.'

The SHARP trial was designed, conducted and analysed independently of all funding sources by the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Oxford University, with guidance from an independent steering committee that included many of the world's leading kidney specialists.

The study was supported by Merck (known as MSD outside the US and Canada), who also supplied the study tablets. Additional support came from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC).

Merck now plans to seek regulatory approvals for the use of Vytorin (the commercial name for the drug in the US) in patients with chronic kidney disease, based on the results from the SHARP study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Cholesterol drug shows benefits for kidney patients, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101127110452.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2010, November 28). Cholesterol drug shows benefits for kidney patients, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101127110452.htm
University of Oxford. "Cholesterol drug shows benefits for kidney patients, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101127110452.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins