In a new study, researchers found that treatment with a statin in combination with ezetimibe could benefit patients with a history of coronary heart disease (CHD) or acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
The benefit from the drug combo is stonier than that from treatment with a statin alone.
In addition, the combination of a statin plus the lipid-lowering drug alirocumab may also provide better health benefits than a statin alone.
The research was conducted by a team from the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).
Cardiovascular diseases are diseases that originate from the vascular system and/or the heart.
These include high blood pressure, CHD, ACS, heart attack, and stroke.
Cardiovascular diseases were the most common cause of death worldwide in 2016, accounting for 31% of all deaths. Of these causes of death, 85 percent resulted from a heart attack or stroke.
One of the largest modifiable risk factors is a high LDL cholesterol level (LDL = low-density lipoprotein, or ‘bad’ cholesterol).
The reduction in LDL cholesterol is, therefore, an important goal in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
In patients with a history of CHD or ACS, using cholesterol-lowering drugs is recommended. Statins are currently the most commonly prescribed group of drugs in this regard.
Recent research has shown that a combination of statin and ezetimibe has also been used to further reduce LDL cholesterol.
In the study, the researchers examined the benefit of treatment with ezetimibe in combination with a statin to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with a history of CHD or ACS.
They compared this treatment with the treatment with a combination of a statin and another drug influencing lipid metabolism.
The team found in patients with a history of CHD or ACS, there was a greater benefit of ezetimibe in combination with a statin versus a statin alone.
For these patients, the additional use of ezetimibe reduces the risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke.
The team also found that the combination therapy of a statin plus ezetimibe was not superior to the combination of a statin plus alirocumab.
The findings provide useful information for patients to protect their heart health. Future work needs to confirm these findings in larger population groups.
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