In a new study, researchers found a new cholesterol-lowering drug could help people unable to use statins due to side effects.
The drug is called bempedoic acid. It can inhibit the body’s ability to create the building blocks of cholesterol.
Statins side effects include muscle pain and bad interactions with other medications.
The research was conducted by researchers from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health.
It is known that too much LDL cholesterol (or bad cholesterol) in the blood can cause plaques. Plaques can clog blood vessels and increase the chance of heart attack and stroke.
Previous studies have shown that it is important to cut LDL cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
This is even more important in people who have heart diseases, diabetes, or inherited conditions.
In the current study, the team aimed to test if bempedoic acid can be a new option for lowering cholesterol.
Like statins, bempedoic acid works by blocking a key enzyme used by the body to make cholesterol.
The researchers examined more than 2,200 patients from the UK, Germany, Poland, Canada, and the US. The participants had high cholesterol levels and took cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Half participants received the new treatment or and the other half received placebo for one year.
The team found after three months, bempedoic acid reduced patients’ LDL cholesterol levels by about 18% compared to the placebo group.
The new treatment was effective regardless of the patient’s current cholesterol-lowering treatment.
In addition, the new treatment had few side effects and was well-tolerated by patients.
The results suggest that bempedoic acid can be a new treatment option for lowering cholesterol levels. It could help cut patients’ risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The researchers suggest that this new drug could be added to patients’ existing drug regimens or offer a new treatment option for people who cannot tolerate statins.
This is the largest study to date to test the effectiveness and safety of bempedoic acid in people with higher risks of heart attack and stroke.
The leader of the study is Professor Kausik Ray from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health.
The study is published in New England Journal of Medicine.
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