FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin


March 22, 2006

Merck has released a study that shows Vytorin, a cholesterol-lowering combination drug marketed by Merck and Schering-Plough, is more effective than Merck's stand-alone drug Zocor.

Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) -- which combines Zocor (simvastatin) and Schering-Plough's Zetia (ezetimibe) -- reduced "bad" (LDL) cholesterol by an average of 52.2 percent compared to 38 percent for Zocor alone, Merck said recently at the 55th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology.

Merck noted that Vytorin reduced C-reactive protein (CRP) by an average of 31 percent compared to 14.3 percent for Zocor. CRP is a marker of inflammation and is considered by the American Heart Association to be an emerging risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the company said.

"In this analysis, while both treatments yielded LDL cholesterol and CRP reductions, we saw that Vytorin lowered LDL cholesterol and CRP by a significantly greater amount in more patients than Zocor," said Christie Ballantyne, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center in Houston, Tex.