While the pill does lower cholesterol by 15 percent to 20 percent, trials have not shown that Zetia reduces heart attacks or strokes, or that it reduces plaques in arteries that can lead to heart problems.
The current trial, which studied whether Zetia could reduce the growth of plaques, found that plaques grew nearly twice as fast in patients taking Zetia along with Zocor than in those taking Zocor alone.
Patients who took both Zetia and Zocor received it in the form of Vytorin, a pill that combines the medications.
Experts have called the results “shocking,” saying that Zetia should not be prescribed unless all other cholesterol drugs have failed.
The results also add to the controversy over Merck and Schering-Plough’s delays in releasing them. The trial was completed in April 2006, with results scheduled to be released in March 2007. However, the companies missed several deadlines, and only agreed to release the results after media outlets focused on their continued delays.
Zetia and Vytorin account for about 20 percent of the cholesterol drugs on the U.S. market. If you read my article from December, Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs: What Are Drugmakers Hiding?, we now have the answer.
They were hiding the fact that their treasured cholesterol pills Zetia and Vytorin, which work differently than standard statin drugs and were being prescribed freely before anyone knew whether or not they worked, nearly double the rate at which dangerous plaque forms in your arteries. And you get to pay about $3 a day, the cost of the drugs, for the privilege.
Of course, the answer is not to turn back to typical statin drugs to lower your cholesterol, as many of the so-called experts would have you believe.
In fact, it is VERY rare for anyone to need cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Among the more than 20,000 patients who have come to my clinic, only four or five of them truly needed these drugs, as they had genetic challenges that required it. If you or someone you know is taking them, odds are very high, greater than 100 to 1, that you or they don't need it.
Statin drugs can actually increase your risk of heart disease because they deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) (which ironically can lead to heart failure). They have also been linked to:
- Muscle aches
- An increase in cancer risk
- Immune system suppression
- Serious degenerative muscle tissue condition (rhabdomyolysis)
- Potential increase in liver enzymes so patients must be monitored for normal liver function
First, realize that cholesterol is not the major culprit in heart disease, or any disease for that matter. Cholesterol is a necessary part of every cell in your body, and it is an essential ingredient for healthy hormones.
Next, avoid getting caught up with the numbers. Did you know that the guidelines that dictate what your cholesterol level “should” be are extremely biased, and have not been proven to be healthy?
Finally, help direct your cholesterol levels to where they should be, naturally, by making these three lifestyle changes: