Meet Liptruzet! A New Combination Cholesterol Drug

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Liptruzet is a new player in the cholesterol lowering game making an appearance as the second combination of Zetia (ezetimibe) and a statin drug—in this case, atorvastatin (Lipitor). Liptruzet is the combination of the active ingredient of Zetia called ezetimibe (not a statin) mixed with the well known statin atorvastatin, and will be used to lower LDL cholesterol. Vytorin, a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin, was released in 2004.

Liptruzet worked better than atorvastatin alone in clinical trials, lowering LDL by 56% vs 44% with atorvastatin alone. This is important for folks who don’t reach their goal LDL on higher doses of atorvastatin. Liptruzet may enable you to take a lower dose of atorvastatin while adding ezetimibe to help you reach your goal instead of just raising your statin dose. This is an attractive option because side effects of statins may be dose dependent so the lower the dose of statin you can use to reach your goal, the better.

The downside will be the cost. These are two generic medications added together to make a brand name drug which will cost much more. Realize here that another option will be to take the two tablets separately (Zetia and atorvastatin) instead of in one pill to save money. Once generic ezetimibe is available on its own, this may offer significant savings.

Liptruzet is available as a once-daily tablet containing ezetimibe/atorvastatin in fixed 10mg/10mg, 10mg/20mg, 10mg/40mg, or 10mg/80mg dosage strengths.

Worth the cost?

Dr O.

Generic atorvastatin is available for free through some pharmacy programs, and under $20 per month at most others, and is considered a Tier 1 or lowest-copay drug by most insurance plans. Zetia typically runs around $170 – $175 per month and is often considered a Tier 2 drug, meaning a moderate insurance copay. As a new, brand-name only medication, Liptruzet will be considered a Tier 3 or highest-copay drug by many insurance plans, but paying cash, it may cost slightly less at the moment than taking generic atorvastatin and brand name Zetia separately—around $185 per month.

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