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A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (November 16, 2009) has implications for people with heart disease who are taking medicine to prevent another heart attack or stroke. The study shows that using niacin in combination with a statin drug can reduce hardening of the arteries. The researchers compared people who took extended-release niacin pills along with a statin medication to those who took ezetimibe (Zetia) in addition to a statin.
To gauge the effect, the researchers looked at the thickness in the carotid artery in the neck of study participants, an early sign of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. Michael Miller, M.D., one of the study's authors, calls it a "landmark study." In this interview with Ellen Beth Levitt, he says the study was halted early because the results were so clear.
Michael Miller, M.D., Head of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
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