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High Cholesterol? A new strategy on how to lower cholesterol

How to lower high cholesterol

There are several drugs that can lower cholesterol (cholesterol values), one of the key factors in heart health. Chief among these are statins. However, a group of specialists has identified ezetimibe, a drug that has been on the market for years, as particularly effective not only in combination with statins, but also when used alone. Indeed, ezetimibe reduces intestinal absorption of cholesterol and, consequently, also plasma levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (C-LDL), with a good tolerability profile.

So-called “high cholesterol” is a major challenge for physicians today, especially in patients at high cardiovascular risk and in cases where first-choice treatment with statins is not well tolerated or does not achieve guideline-recommended cholesterol levels. Indeed, let us not forget that hypercholesterolemia is a direct cause of cardiovascular disease, which in Italy alone is responsible for more than 200,000 deaths a year, including 70,000 from ischemic heart disease, including heart attack, the most feared.

According to specialists, ezetimibe is particularly effective in decreasing the risk of adverse cardiovascular events, even in patients who have already experienced some cardiovascular complication: unlike statins, which have a direct action on cholesterol production, ezetimibe inhibits the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. The combined use of both drugs – statins and ezetimibe – makes it possible to achieve the so-called “double blockade,” which is especially indicated for certain categories of patients, for example, diabetics, in whom intestinal cholesterol absorption is rather high.

Although statins are relatively safe for most patients, they can sometimes induce side effects, including serious ones. Numerous clinical studies show, in fact, that 30 percent of patients on statin therapy may develop significant adverse reactions such as myalgias, myositis, hepatopathy and headache, making it impossible to continue treatment. In contrast, ezetimibe, due to its unique mechanism of action, has no significant interactions with other
drugs and is extremely tolerable both hepatically and muscularly.

Therefore, ezetimibe is a viable alternative for all those patients who are contraindicated from using statins.

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