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Modern drugs cut heart attack risk within 90 days

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) Patients taking modern blood pressure and cholesterol drugs significantly reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack within 90 days of starting treatment, researchers said today.

New analysis from a 19,000-patient study sponsored by Pfizer Inc showed its cholesterol drug Lipitor used alongside its anti-hypertensive Norvasc reduced the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiac events by 53 per cent, with the benefits evident after only three months.

The results, published online in the European Heart Journal, are the latest in a batch of findings from the so-called ASCOT study to highlight the fact that modern medicines can half the risk of heart attacks.

The new data also showed Lipitor plus Norvasc was about three times more effective at preventing heart attacks than Lipitor plus a beta-blocker, an older type of blood pressure drug.

PFIZER SCRAPS NEW DRUG However, the positive ASCOT news emerged just after Pfizer dropped a bombshell at the weekend, when it scrapped development of a new kind of anti-cholesterol drug called torcetrapib, leaving a major hole in its product pipeline.

Lipitor is the world's biggest-selling medicine but it loses US patent protection in 2011, after which Pfizer needs new blockbusters to keep its sales line growing.

REUTERS LL PM1407

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