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Ezetimibe: Use, costs, and adverse events in Australia

Ezetimibe: Use, costs, and adverse events in Australia

Cardiovascular Therapeutics 35(1): 40-46

To analyze the subsidized use and reported adverse events of ezetimibe, used to lower cholesterol, in Australia over the 11 years following its inclusion on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in 2004. Pharmacoepidemiological analysis of dispensed prescriptions from Medicare Australia. Adverse event data were obtained from the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Use was measured by the defined daily dose (DDD) per 1000 population per day for each calendar year. Adverse events were counted by organ class system. Total ezetimibe use rose to 8.46 DDD/1000 population/d in the 11 years to 2015. Ezetimibe as a sole active ingredient was the most commonly dispensed formulation followed by the two combination products containing ezetimibe and 40 mg or 80 mg simvastatin. The average yearly increase in utilization was 19% with a 24% annual increase in costs to government (2006-2015) to $169.0 million in 2015. There were substantial differences in ezetimibe use between states, with no relationship to deaths from ischaemic heart disease (IHD) in each jurisdiction. The major reported adverse events were musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders and gastrointestinal disorders. Ezetimibe use has increased rapidly in Australia since receiving public subsidy. Although the indications for subsidy are very restricted, there appears to have been widespread use, not explained by differential geographical IHD death rates. Latest guidelines still question the value of ezetimibe, so further discussion about whether the public spending on this medication for any potential improvement in population health outcomes is justified.

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Accession: 057851745

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27860332

DOI: 10.1111/1755-5922.12236

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