Orlando—A small study of 2 cholesterol-modifying drugs presented at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions held here in November prompted comments and questions involving much larger issues, ranging from physician prescribing patterns to the role of clinical effectiveness in drug approvals.
The study compared 2 treatment strategies, using statin therapy and adding either ezetimibe or extended-release niacin, to diminish cardiovascular disease risk by modifying cholesterol levels in men and women with coronary heart disease or a coronary heart disease risk equivalent: diabetes mellitus, a 10-year Framingham risk score (used to estimate risk of coronary heart disease) of 20% or more, or a coronary calcium score above 200 for women or 400 for men.
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Using ultrasonography, researchers measure carotid intima-media thickness, a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis progression.
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