“For the first time, we have proof that lowering LDL – or “bad” cholesterol – from 70 mg/dL to 55 mg/dL in heart attack survivors after the addition of ezetimibe to a statin, further reduces the risk of a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death,” says the principal investigator for the University of Maryland arm of the study, cardiologist Michael Miller, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Those lower LDL numbers translated to a six percent reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke in the high risk patients with heart disease who were the focus of the study.
Commonly used drugs called statins lower artery-clogging LDL by inhibiting a key liver enzyme that helps make cholesterol. Another drug, ezetimibe, works in a different way to lower LDL. It reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.
The study, called IMPROVE-IT, compared two approaches: a type of statin called simvastatin with placebo, or simvastatin with ezetimibe.
Click this link for more details on the study from the American Heart Association.