New `candy bar' helpful in lowering of cholesterol
MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. -- Patients may now be able to lower their cholesterol by eating a raspberry or caramel flavored medicated "candy bar."
Cholybar, a new prescription drug product from the Warner-Lambert Company, represents a new drug delivery system for the cholestyramine, a drug that has been indicated in the lowering of cholesterol and has also been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of heart attack and other forms of coronary heart disease.
Previously, the drug was available only in powdered form, making it difficult for patients to take. In that form, the drug must be measured and mixed with liquids before ingestion. The gritty texture and poor taste of the drug made it even less appealing to patients.
The new form allows patients to take the 3/4 ounce bar anywhere. Each bar contains 50 to 60 calories, about 8 grams of fructose, low sodium and no fat. The average retail price is expected to be about 90 cents a bar, which is comparable to the cost of individual packets of cholestyramine powder.
Dr. Marshall Becker, professor of behavior and health education at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, said that the availability of cholestyramine in a palatable form should increase patient compliance.
The most important concern of physicians, according to Dr. Becker, was that only 50 percent of patients on any given therapy follow prescription instructions carefully enough for the drugs to work properly.
"Within a half hour after patients leave the doctor's office, they forget 75 percent of what the doctor told them," said Dr. Becker. "Erroneous health beliefs also contribute to poor compliance when patients refuse to follow a physician's instructions. Finally, the characteristics of the therapy itself has an effect on compliance. Is the medication easy to take? Is it convenient? Is it portable?"
Researchers at Warner-Lambert are exploring the possibility of making other drugs available in candy or food forms.
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