New research is indicating that a cholesterol-lowering drug can raise the risk of cancer. Inegy is taken by thousands of people in the UK and the drug regulator is studying research which has linked to indicated a link to increased cancers and deaths from cancer.
The drug has a combination of the statin simvastatin and ezetimibe for use in patients whose cholesterol cannot be controlled by one drug alone.
The American Food and Drug Administration issued a statement saying preliminary findings from a study has shown found the drug did not reduce cardiovascular problems as expected and a larger percentage of patients on the drug were diagnosed with and died from all types of cancer than those on the placebo during the five year study.
The FDA did not say how big the alleged increased risk of cancer was.
And added that it is not advising that patients should come off the drug nor that doctors should stop prescribing it. Its statement said other trials have shown no increased risk of cancer in patients using the drug.
The final report from the trial should be available to the FDA in three months and it expects the analysis to take further six months after that.
A statement from the makers of the drug Merck and Schering-Plough said the finding was likely to be an "anomaly".
"We are committed to working with regulatory agencies to further evaluate the available data and interpretations of those data; we do not believe that changes in the clinical use of Vytorin are warranted.
"Of course, patients taking Vytorin should talk to their doctor if they have questions."