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A study claims switching patients from a branded statin to a generic version could have serious health implications.
Research in the British Journal of Cardiology found people moving from Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium) to simvastatin had a 30% increase in major cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes.
Scientists studied UK records from October 1997 to June 2005, and looked at 9,009 patients who took Lipitor and 2,511 people who had taken it for six months or more but were then switched to simvastatin.
Lipitor is a prescription medication made by Pfizer and is used in patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease such as family history, high blood pressure, age, low HDL cholesterol or smoking.
Dr Michael Berelowitz, senior vice-president of Pfizer’s global medical division, said: “Today, many healthcare payers, including governments and managed care companies, are encouraging patients who are well-established on one therapy to switch to a different statin therapy.
“This study raises concerns about those policies. It suggests the potential for poorer cardiovascular outcomes associated with switching patients from established Lipitor therapy to simvastatin.”
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British Journal of Cardiology: www.bjcardio.co.uk