Introduction: Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world and hypercholesterolemia is one of the key risk factors. Statins are the first line treatment to reduce atherogenic lipids and there is substantial and robust evidence with atorvastatin for reduction of cardiovascular events and mortality. Ezetimibe can be combined with any dose of atorvastatin for incremental lipid-lowering effects. Areas covered: In this review, the authors summarize the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and clinical efficacy of the components and the combination of ezetimibe and atorvastatin. Clinical benefits have been seen with ezetimibe combined with simvastatin but studies of its combination with atorvastatin are generally limited to the effects on lipid parameters where the addition of ezetimibe to atorvastatin is generally more effective than titrating the atorvastatin dose. Expert opinion: Although there are no cardiovascular outcomes studies with the combination of ezetimibe and atorvastatin, the greater reduction in atherogenic lipids can be assumed to have greater benefits in reducing cardiovascular events. The ezetimibe–atorvastatin combination is very effective in this respect and well tolerated. Fixed-dose combinations improve medication adherence and this combination should be useful for patients who cannot reach their lipid targets with maximally tolerated statin doses.
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