March 9, 2004
Pfizer's Lipitor pummels Bristol-Myers' Pravachol in study
Both the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal ($) have extensive articles about the results of a Bristol-Myers Squibb sponsored study that compared high doses of Pfizer's most powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs, Lipitor, with Bristol-Myers Squibb's less potent drug, Pravachol. Both drugs are statins, a class of medications that block a cholesterol-synthesizing enzyme and are often prescribed for patients with heart problems.
Much to Bristol-Myers' dismay, the study concluded that the patients taking Lipitor were significantly less likely to have heart attacks or to require bypass surgery or angioplasty than those taking Pravachol. The study is spurring discussion among cardiologists and the medical community that lowering cholesterol far beyond the levels that most doctors currently recommend can substantially reduce heart patients' risk of suffering or dying of a heart attack. This could greatly change how doctors treat patients with heart disease and will likely result in re-evaluation of how low cholesterol levels should be even for people without heart problems.
Posted by Tom at March 9, 2004 6:33 AM |
In my anecdotal experience, I have seen a greater cholesterol-lowering effect with Lipitor than with other statins. Lipitor also has a beneficial effect on lowering Triglycerides, an effect not shared by Pravachol.
Unfortunately, Lipitor also seems, in my experience, to be more prone to cause the liver inflammation and the skeletal muscle pain and weakness that this entire class of drugs can induce. Like the cholesterol-lowering effect, these side effects are dose related - the higher the dose, the greater beneficial (or deleterious) effect.
So, regarding the "chemo-therapy" of hyperlipidemia, like many other things in life, you pays your money, you takes your chances.....
Posted by: Jim Bob Baker at March 9, 2004 9:08 AM
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