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Sandeep Singh Dhillon
MSD Malaysia launches dual-mechanism drug that significantly lowers LDL-C levels – MIMS Malaysia
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MSD Malaysia has recently announced the approval of ATOZET, a combination of ezetimibe and atorvastatin in Malaysia, on 26 July – at a media launch, held at Ruyi & Lyn, Bangsar, KL. The event was graced by consultant cardiologists, Dr Jeyamalar Rajadurai and Dr David Quek, who shared further insights into the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, disease complications and advisory on hypercholesterolemia management.

The once-daily combination tablet boasts a dual mechanism of action, treating two main sources of cholesterol in the blood. Ezetimibe inhibits the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, while atorvastatin inhibits the production of cholesterol in the liver. ATOZET is indicated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and a history of acute coronary syndrome (ACS), either previously treated with statin or not.

It is also indicated as an adjunctive therapy to diet for use in adults with primary (heterozygous familial and non-familial) and homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or mixed hyperlipidaemia in patients not appropriately controlled with a statin alone, or already treated with a statin and ezetimibe.

“Heart disease has been the main cause of death in both men and women. In addition, it is two and a half times more common than all cancers combined for more than a decade. It is a very important cause of premature mortality in both and women below the age of 70. And, one important cause of cardiovascular disease is high cholesterol,” shared Dr Jeyamalar.

High levels of hypercholesterolemia within the Malaysian population

According to the National Health & Morbidity Survey 2015, the overall prevalence of hypercholesterolemia – both known and undiagnosed – among young adults aged 18 years and above in Malaysia was 47.7%. There was a general increasing trend with age: from 22.0% in the 18 – 19 years age group, reaching a peak of 68.8% among the 55 – 59 years age group.

“From above 30 years, there is a huge jump in the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia. In fact, in a survey that was done among 13-year-old students… it was discovered that 23% of these students had high cholesterol levels. We are talking about one in four 13-year-olds with cholesterol levels of more than 5.2mmol,” she explained, depicting the dire situation of heart health in Malaysia.

A REALITY Asia study which examined treatment patterns, goal attainment and factors influencing treatment among patients in six Asian countries who were taking statins, also saw more than half of the participants (particularly in patients at highest risk of various cardiovascular disease, including those with CHD or diabetes) did not accomplish the recommended levels of LDL-C.

Reducing LDL-C levels by 27%

There is evidence suggesting that lower LDL-C levels are associated with fewer CV events: the greater the LDL-C reduction, the greater the CV risk reduction. These benefits related to LDL-C reduction are not specific to statin therapy. Therefore, it seems appropriate to reduce LDL-C as low as possible, at least in patients with very high CV risk,” elaborated Dr David Quek.

ATOZET has been shown in multiple studies to effectively lower LDL-C levels. In a 6-week, multicentre, double-blind, randomised, parallel-group study, ATOZET was shown to provide significantly greater LDL-C reduction (27%) in 196 patients with hypercholesterolemia – compared to doubling the dose of atorvastatin alone.

Additionally, the IMPROVE-IT study which evaluated the clinical benefit of ezetimibe/simvastatin combination compared to the simvastatin alone, has revealed that the combination provided incremental benefits in reducing the many cardiovascular-related risk factors in 18,144 acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients ̶ a relative risk reduction of 6.4%.

“With the launch of ATOZET, we hope this will enable healthcare professionals to think beyond statin monotherapy when treating patients struggling to achieve their cholesterol level goals. The combination of ezetimibe and atorvastatin in ATOZET represents a new breakthrough, which MSD hopes will aid in addressing the critical unmet needs of patients in Malaysia,” expressed Chris Tan, Managing Director and Zone Leader for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei at the official launch of ATOZET. MIMS

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