Two treatments better than one for high cholesterol
STOCKHOLM: Most European cardiologists believe the problem of high cholesterol would be better treated by a twin-pronged attack on it, a new study presented at a cardiology conference in Stockholm on Sunday reported.
Most doctors today prescribe statin drug treatment, aimed at limiting the body’s own cholesterol production in the liver. But eight out of 10 European cardiologists believe that far better results would be achieved if they simultaneously prescribed drugs aimed at limiting cholesterol absorbed in the intestine, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive in July.
Of the 388 senior cardiologists questioned, most agreed that treating both cholesterol sources at the same time with so-called dual inhibition therapy would speed up and increase the efficiency of the treatment.
“Statin therapy is great, but it is not the final answer, since it offers protection against only about 30 percent” of dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, Professor John Kastelein, of the Department of Vascular Medicine in Amsterdam, said at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Stockholm.
And while most high-cholesterol patients are told to cut back on fatty foods, Kastelein pointed out that only a third of the cholesterol absorbed in the intestine actually comes from what we eat.
“About two thirds comes from bile, so if you restrict your diet it will help, but just a little. You also need to inhibit the bilary cholesterol,” he said, pointing out that to do so a cholesterol absorption inhibiting drug must also be used.
“If you use both drugs together you can reduce cholesterol by 50 to 60 percent,” he said, adding that using low doses of two drugs also gives fewer side effects than the traditionally high doses of statin drugs prescribed.
According to the Harris Interactive survey, which was commissioned by the Merck and Schering-Plough Cholesterol Partnership, 61 percent of European cardiologists agree with him. afp