The results of a 2 year clinical study revealed that the popular Cholesterol drug Zetia and the Zetia-containing pill Vytorin may be ineffective. Another interesting aspect of the study was that the pharmaceutical companies that produce the drugs kept missing deadlines to release the findings. The company originally blamed the complex data for the delay, but after news articles and Congress inquired as to the reason, the report was soon released. Millions continued taking the drug during that delay. In a press release the companies said that Zetia may actually contribute to plaque formation in arteries rather than reduce it. Cardiologists called the results “shocking.” One prominent doctor said:
“This is as bad a result for the drug as anybody could have feared,” said Dr. Nissen, a widely published researcher and senior consulting editor to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Millions of patients may be taking a drug that does not benefit them, raising their risk of heart attacks and exposing them to potential side effects, he said. Patients should not be given prescriptions for Zetia unless all other cholesterol drugs have failed, he said.
Because of the results, many believe the drug company intentionally delayed releasing the findings from the study completed in April of 2006. This seems like a highly unethical move especially considering that the study indicated that the plaque in arteries grew nearly twice as fast as those who did not use Zetia.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.