September 4, 2006

Doctors back two-pronged approach to cholesterol

Doctors back two-pronged approach to cholesterol

Treatment with conventional statin drugs alone may be inadequate for high-risk patients with raised cholesterol levels and the majority of European doctors favor a two-pronged approach, according to a survey on Sunday.

The poll of 879 physicians, released at the World Congress of Cardiology, found 72 percent thought patients with risk factors such as coronary heart disease or diabetes might be insufficiently treated with statin monotherapy.

In addition, 64 percent of doctors were reluctant to prescribe high doses of statins to high-risk patients because of concerns around safety and side effects.

Instead, 86 percent of those questioned agreed that treating two sources of cholesterol -- production in the liver and absorption in the intestine -- was likely to produce better results.

Statin drugs like Pfizer Inc's Lipitor, Merck & Co Inc's Zocor and AstraZeneca's Crestor, treat liver production alone.

The survey was backed by Merck and Schering-Plough Corp, which market a new two-in-one cholesterol medicine called Vytorin, or Inegy, which contains a novel intestinal absorption inhibitor as well as a statin.

** For more information on cholesterol. please refer to the American Heart Association.

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