The reduction of circulating atherogenic lipoproteins through lifestyle modification and pharmacologic intervention is an important therapeutic goal in patients at risk for acute cardiovascular events. A large number of clinical trials have demonstrated that the reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is associated with significant decreases in the incidence of all cause mortality, stroke, fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction, and the need for revascularization with coronary artery bypass grafting and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Therapy with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors (i.e., statins) are the agents of choice for treating a variety of dyslipidemias, particularly when LDL-C levels are elevated. The statins are highly efficacious; however, not all patients are able to tolerate the higher doses of these medications due to adverse side-effects such as hepatoxicity and myotoxicity. Moreover, many patients cannot achieve their various lipoprotein targets at even the highest doses of these medications. Ezetimibe is a novel cholesterol absorption inhibitor that blocks the translocation of dietary and biliary cholesterol from the gastrointestinal lumen into the intracellular space of jejunal enterocytes. Ezetimibe undergoes enterohepatic recirculation with minimal systemic exposure and not does not adversely impact the pharmacokinetic profile of statins. Ezetimibe significantly reduces serum LDL-C. It is safe when used as monotherapy or when used in combination with statins. Ezetimibe is indicated in the management of hyperlipidemia, familial hypercholesterolemia, and sitosterolemia and significantly increases the percentage of patients able to reach their lipidlowering goals.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, 2-azetidinone, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, ezetimibe, familial hypercholesterolemia, lipoprotein, phytosterol, sitosterolemia
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