Coronary heart disease (CHD) is one of the dominant causes of deaths in adults in the United States. CHD is linked to elevated levels of “bad” cholesterol and decreased rates of “good” chol. Proper treatment should include nutrition adjustments, physical exercises (at least long-lasting walking), and bodyweight loss. However, medication therapy may be a requirement.
Lowering Lipids in the Blood with Zetia
There are many medications that helps to decrease cholesterol in the bloodstream. Among them are bile acid sequestrants, statins, fibric acids, etc. However, there is a unique drug which is distinct from others. Ezetimibe (trade name Zetia) has no inhibitory effect on cholesterol production by the liver, it also doesn’t accelerate excretion of bile acid.
The medication localizes in the intestine and block absorption of cholesterol & some plant-based sterols. Ingestion of high-fat food has no influence on the bioavailability of Zetia (but this doesn’t mean that you can overeat French fries, burgers, cheese and other food with high content of fat, scroll down to know why).
Healthcare specialists typically prescribed Zetia (and clinical studies are also centered on the combination therapy), but monotherapy is also possible. According to the UK scientists Daniel Hammersley and Mark Signy (Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, 2017), one-type treatment may be applied in the following cases:
- treatment of primary hypercholesterolaemia in persons with contraindications to statin administration
- hypercholesterolaemia in folks who cannot tolerate statin pharmaceuticals
Effect of Ezetimibe: Scientific Data
IMPROVE-IT trial performed by dozens of investigators and 2574 collaborators (published in 2015) showed Zetia substantially decreased incidence of severe cardiovascular events in people with cardiovascular diseases and low rates of “good” cholesterol. Moreover, incremental decreasing of cholesterol to rates below previous targets which were measured by doctors provided extra benefits.
According to American researchers Jigna Patel and others (Baylor University Medical Center, 2003), coadministration of Zetia plus lovastatin (Mevacor) showed greater effectiveness than lovastatin alone or ezetimibe alone. The combotherapy provided −39% reduction, while lovastatin monotherapy caused −25% decrease and Zetia led to just −19% reduction.
Hence it can be concluded Zetia provides less pronounced effect when used as monotherapy. Conjunction with statins is more efficient, however, this option may be unsuitable for some individuals.
When Is Zetia Contraindicated? What Are Potential Side Effects?
The medicine has high safety profile and is usually well-tolerated in different subgroups of patients. Nonetheless, as in case with any pharmaceutical product, Zetia has several contraindications, including:
- increased sensitivity to principal or auxiliary components (fillers) of the drug
- moderate of severe liver insufficiency
- active liver disease (when combined with a statin medication)
- pregnancy or breastfeeding (in combination with statins)
Sometimes, patients may experience side effects:
- liver damage and disorders (especially when the drug is coadministered with statins)
- muscle pain
- weakness and tenderness
- allergic reactions, such as itching, rash, dizziness, and trouble breathing (allergy is rarely observed)
Is It Enough for Successful Treatment?
No, just taking Zetia is not enough for adequate therapy of increased cholesterol. Before starting treatment, patients should switch to an appropriate hypocholesterolemic diet and adhere to this diet during the entire period of therapy. The diet should be based on the following principles:
- limiting fried food
- choosing low-fat milk and dairy products
- eating more fruits and vegetables
- consuming whole-grained food, poultry, lean fish, nuts and beans
- curbing soft beverages and sugary food
In addition, scientists have revealed food and food supplies with hypocholesterolemic effects. As stated by Ruitang Deng (University of Rhode Island, 2009), these include fiber or polysaccharides, soy protein, phytoestrogens, and probiotic bacteria (it was claimed that additional studies are needed to evaluate efficacy and safety of probiotics and anti-cholesterol agents).
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