What is Vytorin?
Manufactured by Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough, Vytorin is a combination of simvastatin (also sold as Merck’s Zocor) and ezetimibe (Schering-Plough’s Zetia). These drugs are commonly prescribed to patients who are unable to control their cholesterol levels through diet and exercise.
Zocor is a “statin” drug. Statins are one class of many drugs used to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of “bad” cholesterol by the liver. This helps lessen the buildup of arterial plaque that can lead to coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
However, statins have been found to carry a risk of side effects including liver and muscle damage. Additional studies found that combining Zetia with Zocor, as in Vytorin, can increase the risk of liver damage or disease.
People taking Vytorin may develop liver problems such as Hepatitis, Cirrhosis and even liver failure.
Vytorin Effectiveness Questioned
Despite the risk for possible liver problems, patients continued to take Vytorin because of perceived greater benefits that outweighed these concerns. Then, in February 2008 the results of the ENHANCE study, which was conducted by the drug manufacturers, revealed Vytorin had no significant benefit over taking simvastatin alone – a much less expensive option.
In fact, the ENHANCE study showed that patients taking Vytorin actually had more plaque buildup than patients taking simvastatin alone.
Worse, it was suspected the drug makers delayed releasing results of the ENHANCE study for nearly two years in order to protect sales of their Vytorin product. The study was completed in April 2006, but results – and those only partial – were not released until a congressional inquiry forced the matter and the company relented in January 2008.
Vytorin and Zetia together brought in $5.1 billion in sales in 2007, up from $3.8 billion in 2006.
Do you have a Vytorin claim?
If you or your loved one has suffered a serious injury or death as a result of Vytorin, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.
Please contact our vytorin lawyers today by filling out the brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number (1-800-898-2034) for a free, no-cost, no-obligation legal evaluation of your case.