The Game-Changer: Two Drugs Are Better Than One
If you’ve had a heart attack, you want to do everything possible to avoid another one. New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests an immediate way to drastically lower that risk.
The study found that people who had a heart attack or unstable chest pain were 47% less likely to die within the next three years if they immediately started taking two specific cholesterol-lowering drugs together: statins and ezetimibe.
The Study and Its Impact
The research was led by Maciej Banach, a noted cardiology professor from Poland, and was based on data from 1,536 patients who were part of the Polish Registry of Acute Heart Issues.
These patients had either had a heart attack or were experiencing unstable chest pain. Half of these patients were treated only with a high dose of statin, a commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug.
The other half received a combination of a high dose statin and another drug called ezetimibe.
The results were striking. Not only did the patients who took both drugs have a much lower chance of dying within the following three years, but the risk of death actually dropped within just 52 days of starting the treatment.
The study estimates that using this dual treatment could prevent one death for every 21 patients treated over three years.
Professor Banach emphasized that current guidelines should be updated based on these findings.
The impact could be huge: it’s estimated that following this new treatment approach could prevent around 330,000 deaths per year globally.
Why Cholesterol Matters
Both statins and ezetimibe are commonly used, safe drugs that effectively lower cholesterol in the blood. Why does this matter?
High cholesterol can lead to clogged blood vessels, which significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other vascular problems.
Each year, about seven million people worldwide experience acute heart issues, including around four million heart attack patients.
Many of these cases are related to high levels of cholesterol and fat buildup in the blood vessels.
It’s clear from this research that taking immediate action with a dual drug treatment of statins and ezetimibe can dramatically reduce the risk of dying after experiencing acute heart issues.
It’s a wakeup call for healthcare providers to consider updating current treatment guidelines.
As Professor Banach pointed out, “We have effective cholesterol-lowering treatments, but we must make sure the people who need them are taking them.”
For more information about heart disease, please see recent studies that magnets in common popular devices could harm your heart health, and results showing Vitamin K2 could help reduce heart disease risk.
The research findings can be found in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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