Date approved: October 25, 2002
Status: Prescription only
Approved uses: Treatment for patients who cannot control their cholesterol levels by diet alone
Off-Label uses: None at present
• Rhabdomyolysis – severe muscle damage including pain, tenderness and weakness
• Liver Damage
• Possible Allergic Reaction
Common Misspellings: zedia, exetimibe, ezitimibe,
Zetia (generic name ezetimibe) is a cholesterol medication used to lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. It is used for patients who cannot control their cholesterol levels by diet alone. It can be used by itself or with certain other medicines to treat high cholesterol. By lowering cholesterol levels better than older medications called statins can do alone, Zetia is meant to help better prevent the development of arterial plaque, which can lead to heart disease and heart attacks.
However, an extensive study completed in mid 2006, and released in January 2008 has shown that taking Zetia had no benefit on the buildup of arterial plaque when compared with patients taking only statins such as Zocor. This finding is significant, as Zetia is more expensive than the generic version of Zocor (simvastatin). The manufacturer has disputed the study’s findings, but within weeks of the study’s release a class action lawsuit has already been filed against Merck and Schering-Plough. The Zetia lawsuit alleges that the companies have known since 2006 that their drug was no more effective than the cheaper generic Zocor, despite leading consumers to believe the opposite.
New Study Shows Zetia Not As Effective As Claimed
Zetia, a popular cholesterol drug manufactured by Merck, is under fire thanks to a recent study that suggests the drug is not as effective as advertised. Although the active ingredient ezetimibe has been shown to reduce cholesterol slightly, it is not as effective as Niacin, a cheap vitamin B drug. Additionally, the study states that no evidence exists that the drugs can prevent heart attacks, strokes or other cardiovascular diseases, in contrast to its leading competitors.
Zetia is a break through cholesterol medication that blocks cholesterol absorbtion in the intestines whereas its competitors, Lipitor, Zocor and other statin-type drugs, block cholesterol production in the liver. This difference has boosted Zetia’s popularity – to the tune of $4 billion this year alone – although how it reduces cholesterol is not completely known. Many patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of statins, including liver problems, are often prescribed Zetia and its sister drug, Vytorin, as a last resort.
Previous studies have also questioned the drug’s effectiveness, which has led some to believe the Food and Drug Administration was too hasty in approving the drug – especially without requiring additional studies that demonstrate the drug’s ability to prevent heart attacks. Merck has start researching the drug’s ability to prevent heart attacks, but results are not expected to be available until at least 2012.
This leaves many doctors in limbo about what to prescribe patients with high cholesterol. Oftentimes, patients pursue a Zetia lawsuit to seek monetary compensation to cover medical treatments due to cardiovascular complications. If you or a loved one has questions regarding a potential Zetia Law suit, you may contact one of our experienced Zetia Law firms. A Zetia Lawyer can provide you with updates on Zetia Side Effects or a possible Zetia Recall. Contact a Zetia Attorney using the form at the top of the page.
Zetia Does Not Reduce Heart Attack Risk
However, the company failed to successfully report their research outcome on the given dates several times. It was not until the media picked up on the company’s suspect behavior and delay that the announcement came for the final deadline “soon” in December of 2007. Finally, the results of the trial were released in January of 2008. The results were decidedly negative by most accounts, as reported by the media including The New York Times. In a study to specifically measure the reduction of the growth of fatty plaques in arteries, both Zetia and Vytorin were shown to increase the fatty plaque growth in the patients’ arteries, almost doubling the rate of growth when compared to another leading high-cholesterol medication.
So disturbing were the results of the study, that it reached the ears of Congressional representatives. The chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and of its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations have made contact with the chairmen and CEOs of Merck and Schering-Plough regarding the misrepresentation of the drugs within their advertising campaign. The correspondence calls into question the lighthearted nature of the Zetia and Vytorin commercials and the misleading information they insinuate. Additionally, the congressmen make inquiry to the ads continued use in television advertising claiming the exceeding success of the drug over traditional statin drug therapy, while they possessed the results of the ENHANCE trial for the two years contradicting that very fact.
This one result leads many to believe that several cardiac complications and events could have been enabled by taking medication specifically prescribed to as a support for people at high risk for such problems. Recently, Zetia lawsuits have been filed in several states, charging that Merck and Schering-Plough deliberately withheld the information from the ENHANCE trial proving that Zetia provided no reduction in the frequency of cardiovascular events. Nor did they report information suggesting Zetia side effects where Zetia could be the cause of serious liver damage. Thus far, the lawsuits seek compensation for the cost of the medication to the consumers named as plaintiffs, however, this is only the beginning, as it is highly likely that that many Zetia lawsuits claiming health complications and damages will emerge.
It would be wise for anyone who has firsthand experience with potential complications arising from taking Zetia or Ezetimibe in any form to contact their health care provider as soon as possible, and to seriously consider contacting a Zetia lawyer in order to recoup any damages you or someone who has been affected by this medication could be entitled to through a Zetia law suit.