Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Combination Reduces Chance of Heart Attack, Stroke

For immediate release: November 19, 2014

Contact:

Bill Seiler

bseiler@umm.edu | 410-328-8919

New research, which included patients from the University of Maryland, adds to the growing consensus among cardiologists that lowering bad cholesterol is good for you – and the lower, the better. The research, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Session 2014, found that a combination of two cholesterol-lowering drugs works better than one to reduce cardiovascular risks. The seven-year study included 18,000 people with heart disease.

“For the first time, we have proof that lowering LDL – or “bad” cholesterol – from 70 mg/dL to 55 mg/dL in heart attack survivors after the addition of ezetimibe to a statin, further reduces the risk of a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death,” says the principal investigator for the University of Maryland arm of the study, cardiologist Michael Miller, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Those lower LDL numbers translated to a six percent reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke in the high risk patients with heart disease who were the focus of the study.

Commonly used drugs called statins lower artery-clogging LDL by inhibiting a key liver enzyme that helps make cholesterol. Another drug, ezetimibe, works in a different way to lower LDL. It reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.

The study, called IMPROVE-IT, compared two approaches: a type of statin called simvastatin with placebo, or simvastatin with ezetimibe.

Click this link for more details on the study from the American Heart Association.

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