Vytorin is a combination medicine that is commonly used to treat high cholesterol and high triglycerides in the blood. The medication works by causing the liver to make less cholesterol, increasing its ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol and blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the intestines into the blood. It is typically taken once a day, in the evening.
What Is Vytorin?
Vytorin® (ezetimibe/simvastatin) is a prescription medication used for high cholesterol and high triglycerides. It is a combination of two medicines: ezetimibe (Zetia®), which is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, and simvastatin (Zocor®), which is part of a class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (more commonly known as a statin).
Who Makes It?
Vytorin is manufactured by Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals (MSP).
How Does It Work?
As mentioned, Vytorin is a combination of simvastatin and ezetimibe. Simvastatin works by blocking a particular enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) that controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol and also increases the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol).
Ezetimibe is part of a class of drugs called cholesterol absorption inhibitors. As the name implies, it blocks the absorption of cholesterol from the intestines into the blood. By doing this, less cholesterol enters the body. The drug is unique in that it works just at the "brush border" of the small intestine. Because less cholesterol is delivered from the digestive tract to the liver (which depletes its stores of cholesterol), the liver reacts by taking cholesterol from the blood, which reduces cholesterol levels.
Because of the effects of simvastatin and ezetimibe, Vytorin decreases the following forms of cholesterol and fats:
- Total cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol
The medication also increases HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol).