GENERIC NAME: ezetimibe/simvastatin
BRAND NAME: Vytorin
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Vytorin is a combination of ezetimibe (Zetia) and simvastatin (Zocor) that is used for treating high levels of cholesterol in the blood. Vytorin reduces total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol while it increases high density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol. The ezetimibe component of Vytorin lowers blood cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol, including dietary cholesterol, from the intestine. It does not affect the absorption of triglycerides. The simvastatin component of Vytorin belongs to a class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, commonly called "statins." Statins reduce cholesterol by blocking an enzyme in the liver (HMG-CoA reductase) that produces cholesterol. Statins lower total and LDL cholesterol in the blood as well as triglycerides. They also increase HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is believed to be an important cause of coronary artery disease. Lowering LDL cholesterol levels slows and may even reverse coronary artery disease. Raising HDL cholesterol levels also may slow coronary artery disease. The FDA approved Vytorin in July 2004.
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