NICE advises GPs to use ezetimibe

GPs should prescribe ezetimibe to patients with high cholesterol if statin therapy fails, say NICE guidelines.

The final appraisal determination on ezetimibe states that the drug is suitable as second-line therapy in patients with heterozygous-familial or non-familial primary hypercholesterolaemia.

Patients should only be given the therapy if they have intolerance or contraindications to statins.

Ezetimibe can also be given along with statins if total or LDL cholesterol is not appropriately controlled with statins alone.

Ezetimibe is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor that blocks uptake of cholesterol without affecting absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

NICE says it should be given at a dose of 10mg daily.

NICE says that the incremental cost per life-year gained ranges from £8,000 to £50,000 depending on the treatment strategy used and the patient's history of CHD and diabetes.

The appeal period for the appraisal will close on 28 September.

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