Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Elevated cholesterol levels: No clear benefit of ezetimibe, report suggests

Date:
September 14, 2011
Source:
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Summary:
Elevated blood cholesterol levels are regarded as a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. However, this does not necessarily mean that every cholesterol-lowering drug can also prevent heart attacks. New research suggests the benefit of the cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe is unclear. In particular, proof is lacking that patients have a greater benefit if they take ezetimibe in addition to statins for the prevention of heart attacks.

Elevated blood cholesterol levels are regarded as a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. However, this does not necessarily mean that every cholesterol-lowering drug can also prevent heart attacks. For example, the benefit of the cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe is unclear. In particular, proof is lacking that patients have a greater benefit if they take ezetimibe in addition to statins for the prevention of heart attacks.

This is the result of the final report published by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) on 12 September 2011.

Prescribed largely in combination with statins

Ezetimibe is a cholesterol-absorption inhibitor. If taken orally, it acts in the small intestine by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol into the body from ingested food, which leads to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. It is hoped that this also reduces the risk of heart disease. Ezetimibe is currently prescribed mainly in combination with a statin, which is also used for the prevention of heart attacks in certain patients. For specific statins, various studies have demonstrated that in such patients they not only lower cholesterol levels but may also prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications. Patients with elevated cholesterol levels who do not tolerate these drugs can also take ezetimibe without a statin.

IQWiG has now investigated whether ezetimibe -- particularly in combination with statins -- also lowers the risk of the complications mentioned.

Benefit of combination therapy not proven

A total of 2 studies were identified for the benefit assessment. In both studies, all patients received a statin as basic therapy. In the 24-month ENHANCE study, one half of the study participants additionally received ezetimibe, the others placebo. In the 14-month ARBITER-6-HALTS study, ezetimibe was compared with niacin (nicotinic acid). Relevant studies investigating ezetimibe as monotherapy were not available.

IQWiG analysed the results of the ENHANCE and ARBITER-6-HALTS studies particularly with regard to deaths, cardiovascular complications, health-related quality of life, and adverse effects. With regard to patient-relevant outcomes, neither of the 2 studies showed robust differences between the group of patients receiving ezetimibe plus a statin and the control group. In summary, the data provide no indication that ezetimibe shows more benefit or harm than niacin or placebo. However, the studies available so far are too small and too short to conclusively clarify the benefit and harm of this drug.

The attention of health care professionals is currently focused on an ongoing study (IMPROVE-IT). It is the first study with the primary aim of comparing the effect of simvastatin plus ezetimibe versus simvastatin plus placebo on cardiovascular outcomes. The study includes high-risk patients with acute coronary syndrome whose condition has already been stabilized. The results are expected in 2013.

Procedure of report production

IQWiG published the preliminary results in the form of the preliminary report at the beginning of May 2011 and interested parties were invited to submit comments. When the comments stage ended, the preliminary report was revised and sent as a final report to the contracting agency, the Federal Joint Committee, in July 2011. Only one written comment was received, which was published in a separate document at the same time as the final report. The report was produced in collaboration with external experts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. "Elevated cholesterol levels: No clear benefit of ezetimibe, report suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914110109.htm>.
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. (2011, September 14). Elevated cholesterol levels: No clear benefit of ezetimibe, report suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914110109.htm
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. "Elevated cholesterol levels: No clear benefit of ezetimibe, report suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914110109.htm (accessed October 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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