Cholesterol Drug Removed From Market

January 14, 2013

Heart PillsPrescribed alongside of statins, Tredaptive has been marketed in countries outside the US (although it’s from here) to lower cholesterol. Now, it’s being removed from the market. Why? Because it doesn’t lower cholesterol, but does increase risk for a long list of serious side-effects.

Heart medication is generally prescribed as one-size-fits-all. In truth, certain people are genetically predisposed to benefit more from heart medication than others, but it’s more efficient and economical (and covers doctor’s behinds) to prescribe everyone everything. Especially as most heart medications are a product of the nineties, when pharmaceuticals were marketing blockbuster drugs for blockbuster diseases—like heart disease—which could be sold to everyone. That attitude hasn’t really gone away yet.

Looking at data on Tradaptive collected from the 4 years it’s been licensed for sale, the European Medicine Agency concluded there was no benefit to taking it, and Merck (the manufacturer) has begun the withdrawal, although the EU has yet to make an official decision. For some patients, Tradaptive was being used as an alternative to statins.

Lowering cholesterol has become controversial in the last decade—does it really correlate with lower risk of heart attack and death? If not, does it improve overall health? If not, why are we taking all these drugs?

For most people, a healthy diet of good fats (avocado, lean meats) and exercise, steadily followed, will offer quite a bit of heart health. For a few, genetics will overrule their best efforts, and medication may be necessary. Figuring out who’s who though would require a much more personalized health care system (requiring more doctors, and a different model of care in general).

What do you think of heart medication?

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