Research conducted at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center in Houston shows that a combination statin therapy already proven to lower bad cholesterol by a dramatic 70 percent, now has the added benefit of reducing life-threatening inflammation that can lead to heart disease.
The new results show 46 percent reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation, in patients treated with 40 mg of rosuvastatin and 10 mg ezetimibe.
“Inflammation can lead to serious complications such as heart attack and stroke, and high levels of CRP can predict these risks years before they actually occur,” said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, cardiologist at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center and principle investigator for the study. “Physicians have long relied on blood cholesterol as a key indicator of cardiovascular risk, but recent research suggests that high risk patients who achieved a low CRP level combined with a low LDL-c level had the fewest cardiovascular events.”
The study looked at data from 465 patients in five different countries. A combination treatment regimen of 40 mg of rosuvastatin (Crestor®) and 10 mg of ezetimibe (Zetia®) demonstrated a 46 percent reduction in levels of CRP in high-risk patients. In six weeks, the combination regimen also helped 58 percent of patients achieve dual goals1 of lowering CRP and LDL-c (bad cholesterol). These post-hoc analysis findings from the EXPLORER** study will be presented for the first time this week at the World Congress of Cardiology in Barcelona. Previous EXPLORER results released at ISA in June showed high-risk patients achieved an unprecedented 70 percent reduction in LDL-c using combination therapy.2
“The highly effective reductions in both LDL-c and CRP seen in the EXPLORER study provide a new opportunity for high-risk patients to achieve optimal reduction in both factors with combination therapy,” Ballantyne said.
Key findings from EXPLORER: 1, 3
Significantly more patients (58% vs. 24%) achieved an LDL-C <100 mg/dL or <70 mg/dL (depending on risk category) and CRP <2 mg/L at six weeks with Crestor 40mg and Zetia 10mg compared with Crestor 40 mg monotherapy.
Crestor and Zetia reduced CRP levels by 46% compared with 29% with Crestor monotherapy.
Crestor and Zetia also reduced mean LDL-C by an unprecedented 70%.
Significantly (p<0.001) more patients achieved their NCEP ATP III LDL-C goal of <100 mg/dL (94% vs 79%) at six weeks with Crestor and Zetia compared with Crestor monotherapy.
Both CRESTOR monotherapy and CRESTOR combined with ezetimibe produced similar increases in HDL-C (“good” cholesterol) (8.5% vs. 10.8%).
CRESTOR and ezetimibe were both well tolerated.
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.