Magazine article Drug Topics

New Formulation of Lovastatin Reduces Cholesterol Levels

Magazine article Drug Topics

New Formulation of Lovastatin Reduces Cholesterol Levels

Article excerpt

Rx CARE A recent Food & Drug Administration approval has added Altocor, an extended-release lovastatin from Andrx Corp., to the roster of available statin drugs. Altocor is the company's first internally developed brand product. It is indicated in slowing the progression of atherosclerosis in coronary heart disease as part of a therapeutic strategy to lower LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and total cholesterol (total-C). Extended-release lovastatin is also indicated as an adjunct to diet for the reduction of total C, LDL-C, apolipoprotein B, and triglycerides and to increase HDL-cholester-ol (HDL-C) in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia and mixed dyslipidemia.

A recent letter from the FDA granted approvable status for an

additional indication of coronary heart disease in release lovastatin: with average primary preelevated tion of coronary heart disease in patients with average to moderately expected to receive approval-C and for and indication when the exclusivity expects to receive approval for of Mevacor) indication when the in September of t year. rights of Merck (maker of MevacoA reductase iitor, expire in September of this yease lovastatin

works an HMG-CoA reductase in the same way as the other tor, extended-rugs of its class, said John Isaacworks in the same way as the clinical research organization its class, said John Isaacnafi. According to Evelyn Hermesresearch organization in Plaar.D., clinical te nati. According to Evelyn Hermest Mario School of DeSantis, Pharmacy, Rutgers University, it professor, Ernest Mario School of to mevalonat early Rutgers University, in dio inhibits the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate-an early step in alsoincreases the number of receptors is.

Extended-release lovastatin also increases the number of receptors in the liver that retrieve cholesterol from the plasma, noted Vincent Brett, R.Ph., director, professional services, Andrx Corp.

While lovastatin is the agent common to both Altocor and Mevacor, there is a difference in the mode of drug delivery in the intestinal tract, Isaacsohn explained. "With Altocor, lovastatin is surrounded by a compound that releases the drug slowly in the gut so that it is absorbed in a more sustained manner."

Patients who, by National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, require pharmacotherapy to lower cholesterol levels are candidates for ER lovastatin therapy, said Isaacsohn. However, noted Brett, women who are pregnant or lactating should not take lovastatin. …

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