Vytorin medication benefit for cholesterol,  side effects and review of safety and cautions, interactions by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 20 2016

Vytorin is a prescription medication combination of ezetimibe (Zetia) and simvastatin (Zocor). The ezetimibe component of Vytorin lowers blood cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol, including dietary cholesterol, from the intestine. It does not affect the absorption of triglycerides. The simvastatin component of Vytorin belongs to a class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, commonly called "statins. Statins reduce cholesterol by blocking an enzyme in the liver (HMG-CoA reductase) that produces cholesterol. Statins lower total and LDL cholesterol in the blood as well as triglycerides. They also increase HDL cholesterol. However, long term mortality rates may not necessarily be lower in those who take stating drugs.

Vytorin and cholesterol
Vytorin reduces the amount of cholesterol (a type of fat) absorbed by the body and blocks the production of cholesterol in the body. Vytorin is used to reduce the total amounts of cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of fat), and apolipoprotein B (a protein needed to make cholesterol) in your blood. Vytorin is also used to increase the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood. These actions may reduce the risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

Vytorin research - does this cholesterol medication really work?
2008 - Vytorin, sold by Merck & Co Inc and Schering-Plough Corp, failed to meet the main goal of improving cardiovascular outcomes in a heart study. No significant difference in the study's composite goals was seen between the patients who received Vytorin and those who received a placebo, according to data presented in London by its primary researcher, Dr. Terje Pedersen of Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway.

Vytorin side effects, safety, danger
It will take many years on the market for the full Vytorin side effect profile to be known. In the meantime, the following Vytorin side effects have been noted: Weakness, upper respiratory infections, muscle aches, and increased liver enzymes. Serious Vytorin side effects include difficulty breathing and passing brown or dark-colored urine.

Current evidence regarding possible associated side effects (musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, hematological, renal, ophthalmologic, allergic, malignancy) are still being investigated.

Diab Vasc Dis Res. 2013 May. A comparison of efficacy and safety of an ezetimibe / simvastatin combination compared with other intensified lipid-lowering treatment strategies in diabetic patients with symptomatic cardiovascular disease.

Questions
Q. My husband takes Vytorin 10/40. Is this as dangerous as Lipitor? What kind of Vytorin side effects should one expect.
   A. We don't have much experience with Vytorin since it is a relatively new drug combination. As a general rule, we prefer using individual drugs by themselves since fixed combinations are likely not be appropriate for a large number of people.