updated 1/14/2008 6:11:38 PM ET 2008-01-14T23:11:38

Drug developers Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. on Monday said patients with a predisposition to high cholesterol fared no better when taking their combination cholesterol drug Vytorin than with a high dose of the generic form of Zocor.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

Vytorin is a combination of Zetia and Merck's Zocor, which lost patent protection in 2006. The study measured the amount of artery-clogging plaque in three areas.

It focused on a group of 720 patients with a rare condition predisposing them to high cholesterol. The patients were given either Vytorin or a high dose of generic Zocor, known as simvastatin.

In December, a congressional committee requested more information on the study. The results were delayed, the companies maintained, because of the complexity of the data.

The patients in the two-year study had rare condition called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which the companies said affected about less than 1 percent of the population.

Earlier this month, Merck CEO Richard T. Clark said he expected Vytorin to keep a secure position in the cholesterol drug market and cited several other ongoing studies in addition to this one.

Merck and Schering-Plough are conducting three additional studies, involving more than 20,000 high-risk patients.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments