Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Vytorin to lower cholesterol

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on September 7, 2008

A reader from The Heart of Health is treating high cholesterol with Vytorin. The medication Vytorin is a combination of the statin drug Zocor and the cholesterol lowering drug Zetia. The two drugs differ in that statins function mainly in the liver to reduce production of cholesterol, while Zetia works in the digestive tract to block the absorption of cholesterol from food.

Vytorin is in the press right now, because of a possible link to increased cancer risk.  Studies including 20,000 patients compared cancer in those treated with Vytorin (313) to those taking a Zocor/statin drug (326).   Actual cancer deaths were greater in those taking Vytorin (97) versus Zocor (72).  From my perspective, that is not a significant difference; however, there are experts that agree with me and experts that disagree.

Anyway, The Heart of Health reader requested my thoughts.

First, absolutely discuss with your MD the best treatment for you. I would discuss the possibility of a statin lowering drug with proven effectiveness/safety as an alternative until the controversy regarding Vytorin is settled. Also, there is debate surrounding the effectiveness of Zetia at preventing heart disease.

Of course, I do not know your personal situation and if you have tried a statin with poor results in the past.

Anytime you have to take a medication, there is the risk of side effects.  Many times it’s simply a matter of weighing the pros and cons and deciding how much risk you’re willing to take.

Of course, I promote making lifestyle and diet changes to lower cholesterol to eliminate the need for medications or at least reduce the amount of medication needed to treat your condition. 

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All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN


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