A drug combination that lowers blood cholesterol has been found to reduce ailments of the heart in patients suffering from kidney disease.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a condition that causes slow loss of kidney function over time, taking months or years to develop. CKD is associated with an increased risk of heart disease; yet prevention of heart disease in patients with CKD continues to be a less researched area.
AdvertisementIncreased cholesterol levels serve as the prime cause for vascular events that ultimately result in heart disease. LDL cholesterol or 'bad cholesterol' is the worst agent responsible for the pathology. A number of drugs are available to fight high cholesterol levels. Statins are the most effective drugs available for reducing LDL levels, and work by inhibiting key enzymes in the synthesis of LDL. Simvastatin is a commonly used statin. Another drug called ezetimibe, which aids in fighting bad cholesterol, works by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine.
A recent study evaluated the use of a combination of simvastatin and ezetimibe in patients with chronic kidney disease. Results were published in the Lancet, a leading medical journal. The trial known as SHARP (Study of Heart and Renal Protection) aimed at assessing the safety and efficacy of reducing LDL cholesterol in more than 9000 patients with chronic kidney disease.
Researchers concluded that simvastatin 20 mg plus ezetimibe 10 mg daily in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease reduced the incidence of angioplasty or and of major diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels such as heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke. Though the study results are not totally conclusive, a great significance can be attached to it. A reduction in heart disease complications in high risk patients like those with chronic kidney disease is definitely desirable.
Source: The effects of lowering LDL cholesterol with simvastatin plus ezetimibe in patients with chronic kidney disease (Study of Heart and Renal Protection): a randomised placebo-controlled trial; Colin Baigent et al;The Lancet, Volume 377, Issue 9784, Pages 2181 - 2192, 25 June 2011.