During 2008, serious questions have been raised about Vytorin. The drug is a combination of two medicines, Zetia and Zocor, and it is a product of Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals. Vytorin is a treatment for lowering cholesterol in patients who don’t get the necessary results from traditional statins, such as Zocor or Crestor. Vytorin is used by millions of patients. However, earlier this year, a clinical trial seemed to indicate that Vytorin was no more effective than a cheaper generic statin in its ability to sweep plaque from arteries. Also, a study has shown an increased risk of cancer deaths among Vytorin users, though the number of cancer cases was essentially the same. Further, the FDA is conducting an investigation of Vytorin. Despite these problems, the American Heart Association asserts that patients who don’t obtain cholesterol results from statins alone, should continue to use Vytorin, given the knowledge that a key risk for heart disease is high cholesterol. Heart disease is a serious health concern. Many doctors want more data about Vytorin. Some believe that the risks of Vytorin are too speculative right now to outweigh its use. Other doctors believe that the drug’s effectiveness had not been adequately proven and that more clinical trials are needed before it continues to be prescribed. The issue of Vytorin has again raised questions about the FDA’s approval process for new drugs.
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