NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cholesterol Drug Lowers Heart Disease

November 13, 2003

The first study to compare two powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs head-to-head in coronary artery disease finds that one appears to be superior.

  • In patients taking pravastatin, or Pravachol, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, atherosclerosis worsened slowly over 18 months.
  • But the disease was halted in those who took the highest dose of atorvastatin, or Lipitor, the drug made by Pfizer.
  • After 18 months, the atorvastatin patients had no change in the plaque in their arteries.
  • But plaque increased by 2.7 percent in pravastatin patients.

The study did not assess patient outcomes like heart attacks and deaths, which would have required 8,000 patients and taken five or more years.

Source: Gina Kolata, "Study of Two Cholesterol Drugs Finds One Halts Heart Disease," New York Times, November 13, 2003.


Browse more articles on Health Issues