Study questions impact of cholesterol drugs

November 16, 2009 9:49:41 AM PST
The effectiveness of two cholesterol drugs taken by millions of Americans is again being called into question. Researchers found that Zetia failed to shrink buildups in artery walls, while a rival drug, Niaspan, did so significantly.

Last year, a large study suggested that the combo pill Vytorin, which combines Zetia with a statin, was no more effective than Zocor, which is a statin available as a generic.

Both Zetia and Vytorin are sold by Merck, and Niaspan is made by Abbott Labs, which sponsored the latest study.

Merck says it stands behind its drugs.

The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.