Merck Recalls Cholesterol Drug Liptruzet

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Drugmaker Merck & Co., based in Whitehouse Station, N.J. said on Tuesday that it is recalling all lots of Liptruzet, sweeping out the complete U.S. stock, due to a packaging defect. Liptruzet is combination of the cholesterol-lowering drugs ezetimibe and atorvastatin. Packaging defect can likely let air and moisture affect the quality of the drug.

The corporation said“the likelihood of the packaging defects decreasing the effectiveness of Liptruzet on a patient’s lipid profile or negatively impacting the safety of the product is remote.”

Merck said the recall cover up all four dose strengths and every batch circulated since Liptruzet was launched last May.

Liptruzet coalesce two famous drugs to lessen levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol.

Atorvastatin, the generic version of the lipid-lowering cholesterol medication Lipitor, which cut down the body’s natural cholesterol production, and

Zetia (ezetimibe), a Merck’s own drug that decreases the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. It was the world’s top-selling drug for nearly a decade.

Merck has not asked patients or pharmacies to return their stock.

“Patients are not going to be in any harm’s way just going on atorvastatin until this packaging issue gets corrected,” said Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

If a doctor feels a patient needs the amalgamation treatment, then the doctor can prescribe both drugs independently and the patient can take two pills, said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, in Boston.

“It should be relatively simple and even cheaper to substitute atorvastatin,” Bhatt said.

The cost of Liptruzet and Zetia is more than $5.50 per pill, while atorvastatin costs about 25 cents a pill.

The company said it will resupply the drug “as soon as possible.”