Lipitor could help in controlling heart disease, and other major cardiovascular risk factors, which are commonly called as 'Metabolic Syndrome'.
According to the new study that has been published today on the Lancet's Web site, larger doses of Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering drug of Pfizer further might lower the so-called 'bad' cholesterol and prevent serious heart or circulatory conditions in certain patients.
The researchers in the study have shown that patients with coronary heart disease and metabolic syndrome who took 80 milligrams of Lipitor a day had lower low-density lipoprotein, or 'bad' cholesterol, than patients on 10 milligrams a day. They explained in their findings that patients on a higher-dose had a 9.5% risk of death from coronary heart disease, heart attack, cardiac arrest or stroke, when compared to 13% in respect with others.
Prakash Deedwania, a professor of cardiology at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco and lead author of the study said, "This clearly suggests that the higher dose of Lipitor provides substantially greater benefits".
It is reported that Pfizer, had funded the study, as it is seeking to expand the market for Lipitor. The drug is already the world's top-selling drug, which had generated sales of $12.2 billion in 2005 for Pfizer, but now faces stiff competition from generics, like Zocor from Merck & Co, which is slated as the 6th best-selling treatment in the world that had generated a revenue of around $4.4 billion last year, and AstraZeneca's Crestor, which had sales of $387 million in the first quarter of 2006.
The researchers explained that they had conducted the study by enrolling 5,584 patients with coronary heart disease and metabolic syndrome at 256 centers around 14 countries and monitored them for about five years. They explained that high levels of low-density lipoprotein are a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases.
Deedwania explained that the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is usually made in patients with three cardiovascular risk factors, like insulin resistance, obesity, and large waistline, high blood pressure and lipoprotein imbalances. He further stressed that these days the condition is "at epidemic proportions throughout the world" and is directly related to obesity of the population.
Andre Scheen, a Belgian researcher, writing in a comment that accompanied the study, said, "The TNT findings suggest that the presence of metabolic syndrome might help to select patients who will best benefit from aggressive lipid-lowering therapy.
According to the World Health Organization, diseases due to cardiovascular condition like heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death and kill about 17 million people a year.