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Ezetimibe/simvastatin: A combination product for the treatment of hyperlipidemia

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Although statins have been shown to reduce LDL-C and coronary heart disease (CHD) morbidity and mortality, it is not uncommon for patients to fail to reach the treatment goals recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines. Some statins cannot lower LDL-C sufficiently in FDA-approved doses; other statins cannot be titrated optimally due to potential drug interactions and adverse effects. Ezetimibe/simvastatin(Vytorin, Merck/Schering-Plough) is an intestinal cholesterol absorption inhibitor and statin combination product that received FDA approval in July 2004. The combination has been found to reduce LDL-C and triglycerides by an additional 22% and17%, respectively, and to increase HDL-C by up to 5% compared to statin monotherapy. The 40 mg simvastatin/10 mg ezetimibe dose of the combination product is one of onlya few cholesterol-lowering regimens that can reduce LDL-C >55% and is also one of the most economical. Adding ezetimibe to a statin does not reduce tolerability. Since ezetimibelacks cytochrome P450 isoenzyme interactions, the additional drug interaction risk with combination therapy is low.

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