Healthy Heart Reports
Mevacor And Fosamax For Bones And Heart
An article in the journal Science shows that cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Mevacor, Zocor,
Pravachol, Lescol and Baycol strengthen bones (1). Fosamax, that is advertised to strengthen bones and
Mevacor, that is advertised to lower cholesterol, both lower cholesterol and strengthen bones. In 1995,
a study in Cardiology showed that the most effective treatment to clear arteriosclerotic plaques from
arteries may be a combination of a low-fat diet; the cholesterol blocking agent, lovastatin; and the bone
strengthening chemical, etidronate (2). Mevacor-like drugs that lower cholesterol also strengthen bones
in the same way that Fosamax, the bone strengthener, does.
Bones are always changing . Bone cells called osteoblasts add calcium to bones, then osteoclasts pull
the calcium out of bones. All day long calcium is being driven into and out of bone. The drugs to lower
cholesterol and the drugs to strengthen bones both block osteoclasts from breaking down bone.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, know that the drug lovastatin helps to prevent
the liver from making cholesterol. They also know that x-rays of fatty plaques show heavy calcification
and that fatty plaques in arteries look under the microscope exactly like formed bone (3). The drug
etidronate is used to treat osteoporosis, or bone softening, because it helps bones pick up and use extra
calcium. They thought that etidronate may also help to remove calcium from arteriosclerotic plaques.
Accordingly, they tried several different treatments to clear plaques from the arteries of rabbits and
found that the combination of the drug to remove calcium with the one to remove cholesterol got rid of
the most plaques.
The most common type of heart attack occurs when a clot forms in the coronary arteries that are already
blocked by fatty plaques. People who already have plaques in their arteries and those who have had heart
attacks should be strongly encouraged to change their lifestyles to include controlled exercise and a diet
that is very low in total fat and saturated fat but rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Many studies show that
arteriosclerotic plaques can be absorbed from the walls of your arteries, but doctors do not agree on the
best way to do this.
1) Science December, 1999.
2) BQ Zhu, YP Sun, RE Sievers, WM Isenberg, TJ Moorehead, WW Parmley. Effects of etidronate and lovastatin on the regression of
atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Cardiology 1994(Nov-Dec);85(6):370-377.
3) K Bostrom, KE Watson, WP Stanford, LL Demer. Atherosclerotic calcification: Relation to developmental osteogenesis. American Journal of
Cardiology 75: 6 (FEB 231995):B88-B91. Calcium deposits of atherosclerotic plaque consist of hydroxyapatite and may appear identical to fully
formed lamellar bone, including trabeculae, lacunae, and areas resembling marrow.
Copyright 2003 www.DrMirkin.com
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.
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