Cholesterol Drug Sales Slip After Study
A drug used to raise good levels of cholesterol is selling less after an early 2011 study questioned whether it reduced heart attack risk.
The National Institutes of Health study in May showed Niaspan did not protect against heart attacks in patients with heart disease when taken with the popular generic cholesterol drug simvastatin, also known by the brand name Zocor, the New York Times reports.
Abbott, which on Wednesday announced plans to separate its device business and its pharmaceutical operation into two separate companies, reported flat sales for its prescription Niaspan in the third quarter, the New York Times reports.
“Niaspan sales were essentially flat sequentially,” an Abbott spokesman, Scott Stoffel, told the New York Times. “We’ve seen a modest impact to prescription trends.”
Some doctors say that for patients who already suffer from heart and vascular disease, like those in the N.I.H. trial, statins such as simvastatin, Lipitor and Crestor have done such a good job for so long at lowering cholesterol that adding another pill to raise good cholesterol is not necessary, the New York Times reports.
“If you are very well treated for your bad cholesterol, then you would not need an additional benefit of adding Niaspan,” said Dr. Binh An Phan, a cardiologist at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., a suburb west of Chicago, as reported by the New York Times.
Third-quarter Niaspan sales were up only 9 percent to $245 million compared to last year, the first time in over a year the pill's sales growth did not rise by double-digit percentages, the New York Times reports.