Efficacy and safety of ezetimibe/simvastatin association on non-diabetic and diabetic patients with polygenic hypercholesterolemia or combined hyperlipidemia and previously intolerant to standard statin treatment

G. Derosa, A. D'Angelo, I. G. Franzetti, P. D. Ragonesi, G. Gadaleta, F. Scalise, L. Ciccarelli, M. N. Piccinni, A. F G Cicero

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Background and objective: One of the problems associated with reaching the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) target during statin treatment is the emergence of laboratory or clinical side effects. The aim of our study was to evaluate the prevalence of statin-associated adverse events in diabetic and non-diabetic patients affected by polygenic hypercholesterolemia or combined hyperlipidemia and the efficacy and tolerability of treatment with ezetimibe/simvastatin 10/10 mg/day on the same subjects experiencing the adverse events. Methods: Consecutively enrolment of patients affected by polygenic hypercholesterolemia or combined hyperlipidemia with or without type 2 diabetes mellitus. Each Centre used any of the available statins on the basis of current clinical judgement and monitored enrolled patients for adverse events during the following 2 years. Those patients with moderate adverse events suspended the current statin therapy for 1 month (washout period), and then were shifted to treatment with ezetimibe/simvastatin 10/10 mg/day and again monitored for adverse events in the following 6 months. We assessed body mass index, glycated haemoglobin, fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, LDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, creatinine phosphokinase and monitored adverse events such as asthenia and myalgia. Results and discussion: All 1170 Caucasian patients affected by polygenic hypercholesterolemia obtained a significant reduction in LDL-C during the observation period (P <0·05), while those with combined hyperlipidemia also showed a reduction in TG plasma level (P <0·05) and a significant increase in HDL-C (P <0·05). Patients affected by polygenic hypercholesterolemia experiencing adverse event under statin treatment obtained a significantly lower reduction than those tolerating the treatment (P <0·001). The prevalence of adverse events under statin treatment was 4·9% in non-diabetic patients with polygenic hypercholesterolemia, 8·6% in those with combined hyperlipidemia, 7·1% in diabetic patients with polygenic hypercholesterolemia and 7·6% in those with combined hyperlipidemia. Six months after the shift to treatment with ezetimibe/simvastatin 10/10 mg, all patients experienced a significant improvement in LDL-C, TG and HDL-C plasma level. No adverse event was registered during the ezetimibe/simvastatin 10/10 mg treatment period. It seems that previous side effects observed with statins did not re-appear with the administration of ezetimibe/simvastatin 10/10 mg/day. Conclusions: The efficacy and adverse effect profile of the ezetimibe and simvastatin combination appear to be good for both diabetic and non-diabetic patients, and in both conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-276
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009



  • Combined hyperlipidemia
  • Ezetimibe
  • Poligenic hypercholesterolemia
  • Simvastatin
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology

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