Vytorin is prescribed to treat high cholesterol in adults and children as young as 10 years old. It is a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin. Vytorin was developed by Merck and Schering-Plough and was approved by the FDA in 2004.

According to the ENHANCE study funded by Merck and Schering-Plough, researchers looked at 720 patients suffering from high cholesterol. The patients were given either Vytorin or a high dose of simvastatin (generic for Zocor). The study hoped to prove that Vytorin was far more effective than simvastatin, but it showed that there was no real difference between the drugs. This finding jeopardized Vytorin’s sales. This drug sells for $3 a pill as opposed to generic Zocor at $1 a pill. The manufacturers were hesitant to release these findings due to the money that could be lost.

Along with being marketed as being more effective than it actually was, Vytorin has been linked to cancer, muscle damage, liver damage diabetes and memory loss. In a different trial, Vytorin was seen to significantly increase the risk of cancer as opposed to the control group taking a placebo. These other side effects that have been linked to the cholesterol drug are serious and the risks should be made public to patients using it.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine
  • Swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Chest pain, dry cough, wheezing, feeling short of breath
  • Severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • High blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss)

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Headache, dizziness, depressed mood
  • Memory problems, confusion
  • Numbness or tingly feeling
  • Trouble having an erection
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat
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