Two top-selling cholesterol drugs proved in a recent study to be largely ineffective in slowing the clogging of arteries, a panel of cardiologists said yesterday. Doctors should only prescribe Vytorin and Zetia if other medications don't work, and should rely instead on statins such as Lipitor and Zocor, they said. “The strongest recommendation we can make is to go back to statins,” said one of the doctors. “They work.”
More than 5 million people around the world take Vytorin and Zetia, but a recent clinical trial showed the drugs failed to slow—and may have even sped up—the growth of fatty plaques in the arteries. Drug makers Merck and Schering-Plough disputed the recommendations, saying the drugs have been proven to lower cholesterol.