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Intensive Lipitor lessens heart disease risk

An increased dosage of Pfizer's statin, Lipitor, has been associated with reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events in CHD and CKD patients

Pfizer has announced that its statin, Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), has been associated with significantly reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events in coronary heart disease (CHD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, who were obese or had metabolic syndrome, when taken in a higher dosage.

The findings come from a reanalysis of the Pfizer funded Treating to New Targets (TNT) trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005. This original study involved 10,001 men and women between the ages of 35 and 75, with patients receiving 10mg of Lipitor for eight weeks, then being randomised to receive either 10mg or 80mg of the drug for the rest of the trial's duration, averaging at five years.

The data from the reanalysis, which were presented at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), found that for "patients with both CHD and CKD, being obese or having metabolic syndrome may further increase their risk for cardiovascular events," according to Pfizer in a statement.

One aspect of Pfizer's reevaluation of the study, which looked at the 1,859 patients in TNT who had CHD, CKD and metabolic syndrome, found that 80mg of Lipitor was associated with a 35 per cent reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, compared with 10 mg of the drug. There was also a 33 per cent reduction in risk between the two dosages, in favour of Lipitor 80mg, for patients who had CHD, CKD and obesity.

Lipitor, which takes in approximately $13bn a year for Pfizer, is currently not approved for the treatment of CKD, obesity or metabolic syndrome. Pfizer's patent on the drug will run out at the end of 2011, opening up the market to generic competition.

16th March 2010

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