To review the primary literature describing the pharmacology of ezetimibe and clinical trials investigating its use in the management of hypercholesterolemia.
A MEDLINE search (1966–December 2002) was performed using SCH 48461, SCH 58235, ezetimibe, and 2-azetidinone as key words. English-language articles were identified and the references of these articles were used to further identify pertinent articles and abstracts. Given the paucity of published articles available on ezetimibe, many of the references cited are abstracts.
All acquired articles that discussed the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, chemistry, and clinical efficacy of ezetimibe were reviewed.
Articles were selected based on content regarding the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and clinical use of ezetimibe.
Ezetimibe, approved for use in October 2002, belongs to a new class of antihyperlipidemic agents that uniquely inhibit the absorption of cholesterol by inhibiting the cholesterol transport system located within intestinal cell walls. In humans, ezetimibe reduced cholesterol absorption by >50%. In clinical trials, ezetimibe 10 mg/d reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) by approximately 18% and further enhanced the LDL-C–lowering effect of statin medications by an additional 15–20%. In addition, ezetimibe lowered triglycerides about 5% and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) approximately 3%. Ezetimibe is well tolerated. At present, no serious adverse effects have been directly attributable to ezetimibe.
Based on the data currently available, it appears that ezetimibe has a potential role in the treatment of primary hypercholesterolemia; however further data are needed to determine its long-term tolerability and efficacy. The potential roles for ezetimibe include its concurrent use with a statin to further enhance the lowering of LDL-C. Other possible roles for ezetimibe include its concurrent use with a statin to permit a lowering of statin dosage to avoid statin-related complications or its use as monotherapy to treat hypercholesterolemia when statin use cannot be tolerated or is contraindicated. Outcome data demonstrating that cardiovascular morbidity and/or mortality are reduced by ezetimibe therapy have yet to be generated.
- Mauro, Vincent F
- Tuckerman, Chad E
- ANNALS OF PHARMACOTHERAPY Journal
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