The pivotal role of cholesterol absorption inhibitors in the management of dyslipidemia

Lipids Health Dis. 2004 Oct 7:3:22. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-3-22.


Elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol is associated with a significantly increased risk of coronary heart disease. Ezetimibe is the first member of a new class of selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors. It impairs the intestinal reabsorption of both dietary and hepatically excreted biliary cholesterol. Ezetimibe is an effective and safe agent for lowering LDL-C and non HDL-C. Short term clinical trials have established the role of ezetimibe monotherapy and its use in combination with statins. Furthermore, ezetimibe and statin combination therapy increased the percentage of patients who achieved their LDL-C treatment goal. Studies using surrogate markers of atherosclerosis have suggested a possible role of ezetimibe in combating atherosclerosis. Ezetimibe provides an effective therapeutic strategy for the management of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) and sitosterolemia. The lack of outcomes and long term safety data is attributed to the relatively recent introduction of this medication.