The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new guidelines that could double the number of Americans taking cholesterol-lowering statins, although some patients may no longer be considered candidates for the therapy. The guidelines suggest moving away from treating patients to achieve a specific LDL cholesterol level and advise that patients with certain risk factors for heart attack or stroke stay on statins regardless of cholesterol levels. Merck & Co.'s Vytorin and Zetia, which remain under patent protection, are not recommended under the new guidance.

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