updated 1/8/2009 4:13:32 PM ET 2009-01-08T21:13:32

The Food and Drug Administration says patients should not stop taking Vytorin or other cholesterol-lowering drugs, based on its review of a controversial study.

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The agency is sticking to its original position that medicines that reduce bad cholesterol benefit patients at risk of heart attack or stroke.

FDA says it has finished reviewing the study, which compared Vytorin to one of the combination pill's components, Zocor, that's available as a much cheaper generic drug.

Last January, the study results showed Vytorin was no better than Zocor at reducing plaque buildup in arteries. That led some doctors to urge patients to abandon Vytorin.

Now FDA says patients shouldn't do that, because Vytorin reduced bad cholesterol more than Zocor.

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