African Americans Should Not Stop Taking Vytorin or Zetia Without Consulting Their Healthcare Providers

Public Health Advisory statement from the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.

ATLANTA, January 24, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- The recent release of the ENHANCE study of Vytorin and Zetia has drawn considerable media attention, but stopping cholesterol medications based on this study alone is not appropriate. The next step for any concerned patient with high cholesterol is to talk with his/her healthcare provider before making any changes in care, according to the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.

African Americans have the highest coronary heart disease (heart attack) death rate in the United States and high cholesterol levels in African Americans often go undetected and untreated. African Americans, and all other patients being treated for high cholesterol levels, need a strong partnership with their health providers and thus should not abruptly change or stop medications because of media reports or direct-to-consumer advertisements without consulting with their healthcare providers.

News of a single study called 'ENHANCE' has recently caused a widespread media storm due to ultrasound examinations that showed a lack of benefit in reducing plaque in the carotid arteries when patients used the combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin (sold as Vytorin) over simvastatin (brand name Zocor). No harm was seen in either medication group and overall cardiac events were nearly identical in both.

Stopping medications based on this study alone is not appropriate. The next step for any concerned patient with high cholesterol is to talk with his/her healthcare provider before making any changes in care. In contrast to the abrupt discontinuation of cholesterol-lowering agents, medications remain an important means of controlling the main risk factor for atherosclerosis: high LDL-C (bad cholesterol). Zetia may be reasonable, if needed, for additional LDL-C lowering in combination with a statin.

About the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC):

The ABC is the nation's leading association dedicated to eliminating disparities in cardiovascular care and outcomes. Founded in 1974, the ABC has become an important voice and the foremost advocate for the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular diseases in African Americans. ABC continues to advance its mission through education, research, health promotion, and health policy advocacy. The ABC's diverse membership consists of over 600 physicians, scientists, nurses, students and community health advocates. For more information, please call 1-800-753-9222 or visit www.abcardio.org.

CONTACT: Keith Ferdinand, MD, +1-404-201-6632

Web site: http://www.abcardio.org/

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Posted: January 2008

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