Update on Cholesterol Lowering Medications from XXIII European Society of Cardiology and Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism (DALM)

AstraZeneca’s Crestor (rosuvastatin) was shown to be more effective than Pfizer’s Lipitor (atorvastatin), but safety questions remain. The recent withdrawal of Bayer’s Baycol (cerivastatin) – and the lack of a clear understanding of what caused the problem with cerivastatin -- has made doctors and regulatory authorities nervous about new agents, so the outlook is for a possible delay in approval of Crestor and a slower-than-expected launch. Schering Plough’s cholesterol absorption inhibitor, ezetimibe, may be the big beneficiary of the Baycol withdrawal. The drug was shown to lower cholesterol either as monotherapy or in combination with a statin, with no serious side effects, and it may be more appealing to doctors than a “superstatin.”

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