Prescription Cholesterol Drugs Creating Serious Side Effects
Pharmaceutical company Merck’s cholesterol drug Tredaptive, pulled from the market earlier this year, has been shown to increase side effects such as bleeding and infections and didn’t help patients lower their cholesterol levels, according to results of the latest clinical trial.
Merck, the second-largest U.S. drug producer, declared in December 2012 that it wouldn’t seek U.S. approval for Tredaptive and stopped selling it globally in January 2013. The medication is approved in 70 countries and was sold in 40. Other results from the same trial announced in December showed that it didn’t cut the risk of the vascular issues it was intended to prevent.
A European medical journal recently said the drug caused disturbing muscle weakness, especially in Asian patients.
The serious side effects arose in a huge study of a Merck’s long-acting niacin drug aimed at raising good HDL cholesterol. Merck had already given up on the drug that combines extended-release niacin with an experimental agent called laropiprant, designed to prevent the uncomfortable facial flushing associated with niacin. Niacin, a B vitamin, helps the body maintain a healthy nervous system and digestive system as well as healthy eyes, hair and skin. Niacin also helps the body turn carbohydrates into energy. This B vitamin, in certain cases, can lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels and increase healthy HDL cholesterol levels, helping to reduce your risk for heart disease.
Cholesterol is a waxy chemical compound produced in the liver to provide the body’s cells with the needed fluidity and flexibility for proper function. It is important to have and maintain the correct cholesterol ratio within the body for optimal health. This means you need the right amount of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) for your body to function properly.
The clinical trial results presented at a meeting of the American College of described an even more troubling picture of the Merck’s medicine. Researchers found patients taking Tredaptive had significantly higher rates of bleeding and infections. Significantly higher numbers of patients taking Tredaptive also experienced serious health problems that researchers said were known side effects of niacin. Those included new onset diabetes, diabetic complications, and gastrointestinal problems.
The study, called HPS2-Thrive, was lead by Jane Armitage, a professor of clinical trials and epidemiology at the University of Oxford. She called the findings disappointing.
"Still," she said, "finding out a drug is not helping people is just as important as finding that it has benefits."
The trial was not designed to show whether the adverse side effects were caused by the niacin or the anti-flushing drug, another potential failing. But Armitage said the results were consistent with an earlier failed niacin study that did not include laropiprant and that many of the side effects are known to be associated with niacin.
"We now know that its adverse side effects outweigh the benefits when used with current treatments," she said.
The study of 25,673 patients found Tredaptive failed to reduce the risk of stroke, death, heart attack or the need for surgery in people with vascular diseases. The results of the study could change the use of niacin, which is often used to supplement cholesterol-lowering drugs.
In the study, 2.5% of patients experienced bleeding while on Tredaptive, versus 1.9% of those getting a placebo. The rate of infections rose to 8% for those on the drug, compared to 6.6% on a placebo. There were also higher rates of diabetes, complications from diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, and rashes or itching.
Niacin has been used for many years in the belief that it would help patients and prevent heart attack and stroke, but we know now that its adverse side effects outweigh the benefits when used with current treatments.
Harsh medications help many people keep healthier cholesterol levels. Many will instead choose more natural solutions.
An excellent cholesterol supplement that does include many important natural ingredients is Cholesterol Complete™ (click here to view).It’s a powerful all-natural formula that targets both types of cholesterol; LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is the cholesterol you should be most concerned with, it is the “bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and raises blood pressure. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body and reduces the risks of heart attack and stroke. This formula can get excellent results (often 40 pts. in 40 days!).
An excellent cholesterol supplement that include many important natural ingredients is Cholesterol Complete™ (click here to view). It’s a powerful all-natural formula that targets both types of cholesterol; LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is the cholesterol you should be most concerned with, it is the “bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and raises blood pressure. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body. You’re supporting healthy cholesterol with 100% natural approach!