Zetia (Page 4 of 7)

8.7 Hepatic Impairment

ZETIA is not recommended in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

ZETIA given concomitantly with a statin is contraindicated in patients with active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations of hepatic transaminase levels [see Contraindications (4) ; Warnings and Precautions (5.2) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


In clinical studies, administration of ezetimibe, 50 mg/day to 15 healthy subjects for up to 14 days, 40 mg/day to 18 patients with primary hyperlipidemia for up to 56 days, and 40 mg/day to 27 patients with homozygous sitosterolemia for 26 weeks was generally well tolerated. One female patient with homozygous sitosterolemia took an accidental overdose of ezetimibe 120 mg/day for 28 days with no reported clinical or laboratory adverse events.

In the event of an overdose, symptomatic and supportive measures should be employed.


ZETIA (ezetimibe) is in a class of lipid-lowering compounds that selectively inhibits the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and related phytosterols. The chemical name of ezetimibe is 1-(4-fluorophenyl)-3(R)-[3-(4-fluorophenyl)-3(S)-hydroxypropyl]-4(S)-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-azetidinone. The empirical formula is C24 H21 F2 NO3 . Its molecular weight is 409.4 and its structural formula is:

image of ezetimibe chemical structure

Ezetimibe is a white, crystalline powder that is freely to very soluble in ethanol, methanol, and acetone and practically insoluble in water. Ezetimibe has a melting point of about 163°C and is stable at ambient temperature. ZETIA is available as a tablet for oral administration containing 10 mg of ezetimibe and the following inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium NF, lactose monohydrate NF, magnesium stearate NF, microcrystalline cellulose NF, povidone USP, and sodium lauryl sulfate NF.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Ezetimibe reduces blood cholesterol by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol by the small intestine. In a 2-week clinical study in 18 hypercholesterolemic patients, ZETIA inhibited intestinal cholesterol absorption by 54%, compared with placebo. ZETIA had no clinically meaningful effect on the plasma concentrations of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E (in a study of 113 patients), and did not impair adrenocortical steroid hormone production (in a study of 118 patients).

The cholesterol content of the liver is derived predominantly from three sources. The liver can synthesize cholesterol, take up cholesterol from the blood from circulating lipoproteins, or take up cholesterol absorbed by the small intestine. Intestinal cholesterol is derived primarily from cholesterol secreted in the bile and from dietary cholesterol.

Ezetimibe has a mechanism of action that differs from those of other classes of cholesterol-reducing compounds (statins, bile acid sequestrants [resins], fibric acid derivatives, and plant stanols). The molecular target of ezetimibe has been shown to be the sterol transporter, Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1), which is involved in the intestinal uptake of cholesterol and phytosterols.

Ezetimibe does not inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the liver, or increase bile acid excretion. Instead, ezetimibe localizes at the brush border of the small intestine and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol, leading to a decrease in the delivery of intestinal cholesterol to the liver. This causes a reduction of hepatic cholesterol stores and an increase in clearance of cholesterol from the blood; this distinct mechanism is complementary to that of statins and of fenofibrate [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Clinical studies have demonstrated that elevated levels of total-C, LDL-C and Apo B, the major protein constituent of LDL, promote human atherosclerosis. In addition, decreased levels of HDL-C are associated with the development of atherosclerosis. Epidemiologic studies have established that cardiovascular morbidity and mortality vary directly with the level of total-C and LDL-C and inversely with the level of HDL-C. Like LDL, cholesterol-enriched triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, including very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoproteins (IDL), and remnants, can also promote atherosclerosis. The independent effect of raising HDL-C or lowering TG on the risk of coronary and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been determined.

ZETIA reduces total-C, LDL-C, Apo B, non-HDL-C, and TG, and increases HDL-C in patients with hyperlipidemia. Administration of ZETIA with a statin is effective in improving serum total-C, LDL-C, Apo B, non-HDL-C, TG, and HDL-C beyond either treatment alone. Administration of ZETIA with fenofibrate is effective in improving serum total-C, LDL-C, Apo B, and non-HDL-C in patients with mixed hyperlipidemia as compared to either treatment alone. The effects of ezetimibe given either alone or in addition to a statin or fenofibrate on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have not been established.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


After oral administration, ezetimibe is absorbed and extensively conjugated to a pharmacologically active phenolic glucuronide (ezetimibe-glucuronide). After a single 10-mg dose of ZETIA to fasted adults, mean ezetimibe peak plasma concentrations (Cmax ) of 3.4 to 5.5 ng/mL were attained within 4 to 12 hours (Tmax ). Ezetimibe-glucuronide mean Cmax values of 45 to 71 ng/mL were achieved between 1 and 2 hours (Tmax ). There was no substantial deviation from dose proportionality between 5 and 20 mg. The absolute bioavailability of ezetimibe cannot be determined, as the compound is virtually insoluble in aqueous media suitable for injection.

Effect of Food on Oral Absorption

Concomitant food administration (high-fat or non-fat meals) had no effect on the extent of absorption of ezetimibe when administered as ZETIA 10-mg tablets. The Cmax value of ezetimibe was increased by 38% with consumption of high-fat meals. ZETIA can be administered with or without food.


Ezetimibe and ezetimibe-glucuronide are highly bound (>90%) to human plasma proteins.

Metabolism and Excretion

Ezetimibe is primarily metabolized in the small intestine and liver via glucuronide conjugation (a phase II reaction) with subsequent biliary and renal excretion. Minimal oxidative metabolism (a phase I reaction) has been observed in all species evaluated.

In humans, ezetimibe is rapidly metabolized to ezetimibe-glucuronide. Ezetimibe and ezetimibe-glucuronide are the major drug-derived compounds detected in plasma, constituting approximately 10 to 20% and 80 to 90% of the total drug in plasma, respectively. Both ezetimibe and ezetimibe-glucuronide are eliminated from plasma with a half-life of approximately 22 hours for both ezetimibe and ezetimibe-glucuronide. Plasma concentration-time profiles exhibit multiple peaks, suggesting enterohepatic recycling.

Following oral administration of 14 C-ezetimibe (20 mg) to human subjects, total ezetimibe (ezetimibe + ezetimibe-glucuronide) accounted for approximately 93% of the total radioactivity in plasma. After 48 hours, there were no detectable levels of radioactivity in the plasma.

Approximately 78% and 11% of the administered radioactivity were recovered in the feces and urine, respectively, over a 10-day collection period. Ezetimibe was the major component in feces and accounted for 69% of the administered dose, while ezetimibe-glucuronide was the major component in urine and accounted for 9% of the administered dose.

Specific Populations

Geriatric Patients: In a multiple-dose study with ezetimibe given 10 mg once daily for 10 days, plasma concentrations for total ezetimibe were about 2-fold higher in older (≥65 years) healthy subjects compared to younger subjects.

Pediatric Patients: [See Use in Specific Populations (8.4).]

Gender: In a multiple-dose study with ezetimibe given 10 mg once daily for 10 days, plasma concentrations for total ezetimibe were slightly higher (<20%) in women than in men.

Race: Based on a meta-analysis of multiple-dose pharmacokinetic studies, there were no pharmacokinetic differences between Black and Caucasian subjects. Studies in Asian subjects indicated that the pharmacokinetics of ezetimibe were similar to those seen in Caucasian subjects.

Hepatic Impairment: After a single 10-mg dose of ezetimibe, the mean AUC for total ezetimibe was increased approximately 1.7-fold in patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score 5 to 6), compared to healthy subjects. The mean AUC values for total ezetimibe and ezetimibe were increased approximately 3- to 4-fold and 5- to 6-fold, respectively, in patients with moderate (Child-Pugh score 7 to 9) or severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score 10 to 15). In a 14-day, multiple-dose study (10 mg daily) in patients with moderate hepatic impairment, the mean AUC values for total ezetimibe and ezetimibe were increased approximately 4-fold on Day 1 and Day 14 compared to healthy subjects. Due to the unknown effects of the increased exposure to ezetimibe in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment, ZETIA is not recommended in these patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].

Renal Impairment: After a single 10-mg dose of ezetimibe in patients with severe renal disease (n=8; mean CrCl ≤30 mL/min/1.73 m2), the mean AUC values for total ezetimibe, ezetimibe-glucuronide, and ezetimibe were increased approximately 1.5-fold, compared to healthy subjects (n=9).

Drug Interactions [See also Drug Interactions (7)]

ZETIA had no significant effect on a series of probe drugs (caffeine, dextromethorphan, tolbutamide, and IV midazolam) known to be metabolized by cytochrome P450 (1A2, 2D6, 2C8/9 and 3A4) in a “cocktail” study of twelve healthy adult males. This indicates that ezetimibe is neither an inhibitor nor an inducer of these cytochrome P450 isozymes, and it is unlikely that ezetimibe will affect the metabolism of drugs that are metabolized by these enzymes.

TABLE 4: Effect of Coadministered Drugs on Total Ezetimibe
Coadministered Drug and Dosing Regimen Total Ezetimibe *
Change in AUC Change in Cmax
Based on 10-mg dose of ezetimibe.
Post-renal transplant patients with mild impaired or normal renal function. In a different study, a renal transplant patient with severe renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance of 13.2 mL/min/1.73 m2) who was receiving multiple medications, including cyclosporine, demonstrated a 12-fold greater exposure to total ezetimibe compared to healthy subjects.
See Drug Interactions (7).
Supralox, 20 mL.
Cyclosporine-stable dose required (75–150 mg BID), ↑240% ↑290%
Fenofibrate, 200 mg QD, 14 days ↑48% ↑64%
Gemfibrozil, 600 mg BID, 7 days ↑64% ↑91%
Cholestyramine, 4 g BID, 14 days ↓55% ↓4%
Aluminum & magnesium hydroxide combination antacid, single dose § ↓4% ↓30%
Cimetidine, 400 mg BID, 7 days ↑6% ↑22%
Glipizide, 10 mg, single dose ↑4% ↓8%
Lovastatin 20 mg QD, 7 days ↑9% ↑3%
Pravastatin 20 mg QD, 14 days ↑7% ↑23%
Atorvastatin 10 mg QD, 14 days ↓2% ↑12%
Rosuvastatin 10 mg QD, 14 days ↑13% ↑18%
Fluvastatin 20 mg QD, 14 days ↓19% ↑7%
TABLE 5: Effect of Ezetimibe Coadministration on Systemic Exposure to Other Drugs
Coadministered Drug and its Dosage Regimen Ezetimibe Dosage Regimen Change in AUC of Coadministered Drug Change in Cmax of Coadministered Drug
See Drug Interactions (7).
Warfarin, 25-mg single dose on Day 7 10 mg QD, 11 days ↓2% (R-warfarin) ↓4% (S-warfarin) ↑3% (R-warfarin) ↑1% (S-warfarin)
Digoxin, 0.5-mg single dose 10 mg QD, 8 days ↑2% ↓7%
Gemfibrozil, 600 mg BID, 7 days * 10 mg QD, 7 days ↓1% ↓11%
Ethinyl estradiol & Levonorgestrel, QD, 21 days 10 mg QD, days 8–14 of 21d oral contraceptive cycle Ethinyl estradiol 0% Levonorgestrel 0% Ethinyl estradiol ↓9% Levonorgestrel ↓5%
Glipizide, 10 mg on Days 1 and 9 10 mg QD, days 2–9 ↓3% ↓5%
Fenofibrate, 200 mg QD, 14 days * 10 mg QD, 14 days ↑11% ↑7%
Cyclosporine, 100-mg single dose Day 7* 20 mg QD, 8 days ↑15% ↑10%
Lovastatin 20 mg QD, 7 days 10 mg QD, 7 days ↑19% ↑3%
Pravastatin 20 mg QD, 14 days 10 mg QD, 14 days ↓20% ↓24%
Atorvastatin 10 mg QD, 14 days 10 mg QD, 14 days ↓4% ↑7%
Rosuvastatin 10 mg QD, 14 days 10 mg QD, 14 days ↑19% ↑17%
Fluvastatin 20 mg QD, 14 days 10 mg QD, 14 days ↓39% ↓27%

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