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Paradoxically the more Zetia (ezetimibe) lowered LDL, the greater the progression of atherosclerosis
Thursday, November 19, 2009 12:55 pm Email this article
The greater the reduction in LDL cholesterol in statin users who were also given the cholesterol-lowering drug Zetia (ezetimibe), the greater the acceleration of atherosclerosis according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"We found an unexpected paradoxical relationship of a greater degree of atherosclerosis progression in patients with larger, [ Zetia-induced ] ezetimibe-induced reductions in LDL cholesterol level," the researchers noted.
"The use of [ Zetia ] ezetimibe led to a paradoxical increase in the degree of atherosclerosis in association with greater reduction in LDL cholesterol, an effect we hypothesize may stem from unintended biologic effects of this agent," they concluded.
But that's not all.
Even though LDL levels were lower in the statin plus Zetia (ezetimibe) than the statin plus niacin group, during a 14 month period there were:
- 3 times as many heart attacks in the Zetia (ezetimibe) group (3 vs 1)
- 5 times as many cardiovascular deaths in the Zetia (ezetimibe) group (5 vs 1), and
- 7 times as many total deaths in the Zetia (ezetimibe) group (7 vs 1), and
- more than 3 times as many heart bypasses performed in the Zetia (ezetimibe) group (3 vs 0)
Do not be fooled by whether or not a drug lowers some number on a piece of paper, that is, some marker, such as LDL cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar.
The drug companies have convinced doctors and patients alike that if a drug lowers cholesterol... or blood pressure or blood sugar, that is must be good for you.
This is not true!
Studies going back to the early 1970's found that while oral diabetes drugs lower blood sugar, they caused more problems than they solved.
A 2004 study of blood pressure drugs in older women found that while these drugs lowered blood pressure by 10-15 points lower than women taking no blood pressure drugs, women taking the drugs were MORE likely to die of cardiovascular disease in seven out of the eight ( 7 of 8 ) drug groups than the "no drug" group!
In fact, women who had been given a diuretic plus a calcium channel blocker were 2.4 times MORE likely to die of cardiovascular disease than women taking no blood pressure medicines at all, even though the systolic pressure of the women taking this drug combination was 11 points lower (138 mm Hg in the drug group vs 149 mm Hg in the "no drug" group)!
This is another example showing that the number on a piece of paper is irrelevant!
It does not matter whether or not a drug lowers LDL cholesterol or blood pressure or blood sugar or any other marker.
The only thing that matters is whether or not it lowers your total risk of death.
Please do not fall for this advertising nonsense!
Ignore LDL Cholesterol
Dr. Rodney A. Hayward says we should IGNORE LDL cholesterol ignore
Researchers quoted in the January 17th, 2008 cover story in BusinessWeek titled "Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good", said that they research suggests that we should IGNORE LDL cholesterol altogether.
"[C]urrent evidence supports ignoring LDL cholesterol altogether," University of Michigan's [Dr. Rodney A. Hayward, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School] was quoted as saying in this BusinessWeek article. Is LDL ‘Bad’ Cholesterol?
Who says that LDL cholesterol is ‘bad’ cholesterol
We have been told for 30 years or more that LDL cholesterol is “bad” cholesterol.
This makes it sound like a waste product.
It makes it sound like something you want to get rid of.
It makes it sound like you should try to get it as low as possible.
But we need to question this idea that LDL is “bad”.
LDL cholesterol is not a waste product.
It is there for a reason.
Niacin dose: 2000 mg of extended-release niacin at bedtime
The dose of niacin was 2000 mg of extended-release niacin given at bedtime.
Niacin was started at 500 mg for two weeks, then 1000 mg for two weeks, then 1500 mg for two weeks, then 2000 mg.
Extended-release Niacin vs Regular Niacin
A dose of extended-release niacin is roughly equal to twice the dose of regular niacin
Here is a quote about regular niacin versus extended-release niacin from the 1993 book Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense. An evaluation by scientists in Chapter 8 titled “Clinical Alternatives” written by William B. Parsons, Jr, MD.
“Playing niacin, in doses of [3000 mg] per day is usually quite safe, and the plain form seldom causes problems in doses up to [6000 mg] per day.
“The relatively few reports of [liver] toxicity in recent years have usually occurred when a patient, physician, or pharmacist has not realized that substituting time-release niacin for plain niacin and equal dosage is the approximate equivalent of doubling the dose.
“The fact that [liver] function alterations are more frequent with the time-release preparations has been recognized since the early 1960s.
“The number of reported cases of [liver] toxicity has been relatively small, especially considering the greatly increased interest since publication of the [ National Cholesterol Education Program] guidelines in 1988.”
—William B. Parsons, Jr, MD
Average age 65, all with cardiovascular disease
All patients had cardiovascular disease or were considered high-risk.
On average, patients were 65-years-old.
Eighty percent (80%) were men.
Patients Taking a Statin
All patients had been taking a statin
All were taking a statin, the average time having taking a statin was 6-years.
95% on Zocor or Lipitor
95% of patients were taking either Zocor (simvastatin) or Lipitor (atorvastatin)
Ninety-five percent (95%) of patients were taking either Zocor (simvastatin) or Lipitor (atorvastatin).
The average dose was 42 mg per day.
Cholesterol and triglyceride levels at the start of the study were:
- 146 mg per deciliter for Total Cholesterol
- 82 mg per deciliter for LDL Cholesterol
- 42 mg per deciliter for HDL Cholesterol
- 137 mg per deciliter for Triglycerides
The baseline level of total cholesterol was 146.1±23.6 mg per deciliter (3.8±0.7 mmol per liter); LDL cholesterol, 82.1±23.1 mg per deciliter (2.1±0.6 mmol per liter); HDL cholesterol, 42.4±8.5 mg per deciliter (1.1±0.2 mmol per liter); and triglycerides, 137±67 mg per deciliter (2±1 mmol per liter).
Study Terminated Early
Study terminated early because niacin was so superior to Zetia
The study was terminated early, after 14 months, because niacin was so superior to Zetia (ezetimibe).
Zetia Accelerated Atherosclerosis
Zetia cause an acceleration of atherosclerosis even though it lowered LDL
The also measured thickness of the carotid artery wall to try and determine if either of these agents caused regression of atherosclerosis.
“Paradoxically, greater reductions in the LDL cholesterol level in association with ezetimibe [Zetia] were significantly associated with an increase in” thickness of the carotid artery wall.
In other words, although Zetia (ezetimibe) reduced LDL cholesterol, it made the problem worse.
It cause an acceleration of atherosclerosis.
But that’s not all.
Worsening of Atherosclerosis Greater
The acceleration of atherosclerosis seen in the Zetia group was worse in those whose LDL was lowered the most
The more Zetia (ezetimibe) lowered LDL cholesterol, the worse the problem got.
This was NOT the case with Niacin
This was NOT the case with niacin
This was not the case with niacin.
Here is the quote from the paper talking about this.
“There was a significant inverse relationship between the changes in LDL cholesterol level and the carotid intima–media thickness in the ezetimibe group, such that a paradoxical increase in the carotid intima–media thickness was seen in patients [given Zetia] with greater reductions in LDL cholesterol. Such a relationship was not observed in the niacin group.”
How A Drug Affects Your Risk of Death Is The ONLY Thing That Matters
Do not be fooled by a drugs effects on markers such as LDL, blood pressure or blood sugar
Do not be mislead by whether or not a drug lowers LDL cholesterol, or blood pressure, or blood sugar.
Studies going back as far as the early-1970’s found that while oral diabetes medicines lower blood sugar levels, they cause more problems than they solve.
Data from a 2004 study by Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine revealed that older women with “hypertension” who were given blood pressure drugs were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease in seven out of the eight drug groups compared to “hypertensive” women who were taking no blood pressure medicines at all even though systolic pressure in the drug groups was 10-15 points lower than in the non-drug group.
The articles are posted here
So do not be fooled by how a drug affects a marker like LDL cholesterol, or blood pressure, or blood sugar.
The only thing that matters is whether or not it lowers your total risk of death.
Taylor AJ, Villines TC, Stanek EJ, Devine PJ, Griffen L, Miller M, Weissman NJ, Turco M. Extended-release niacin or ezetimibe and carotid intima–media thickness. N Engl J Med. Published at http://www.nejm.org November 15, 2009, published early on-line.
AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION
Dr. Allen Taylor
Department of Medicine (Cardiology)
Medstar Research Institute
Washington Hospital Center
110 Irving St. NW, Rm. 1E12
Washington, DC 20010
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