2. New Oral Cholesterol Drug Could Help Statin Intolerant Patients

A new class of oral cholesterol-lowering drug could help patients unable to take statins due to side effects. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine has findings from the study to to test the effectiveness and safety of bempedoic acid, which inhibits the body's ability to create the building blocks of cholesterol According to the researchers, the cholesterol-lowering treatment could be added to patients' existing drug regimens as well as providing an option for people who are unable to tolerate statins due to side effects such as muscle pain or bad interactions with other medications. Like statins, bempedoic acid works by blocking a key enzyme used by the body to make cholesterol.

Professor Kausik Ray, from Imperial College London's School of Public Health, who led the study, said: "one of the key advantages of bempedoic acid is supposed to be that it shouldn't cause the muscle side effects reported by some statins users, as it has taken up by the liver and needs to be converted into its active form via an enzyme only found in the liver. Once converted to the active form the drug cannot leave the liver, so it can't enter muscles and hence could be of considerable advantage for some. It could be an option for patients who are unable to tolerate statins at higher doses, or at all. Our genetic studies suggest that the benefit on the prevention of heart disease and strokes in ongoing trials should be identical to that achieved through statins”.

"Overall, these latest studies show that not only is the treatment generally well-tolerated being comparable with placebo, and potentially safe over longer periods, but that when added to high-intensity statin treatment it can help to further reduce LDL cholesterol levels. The ongoing trial, called 'CLEAR OUTCOMES', is especially testing even longer-term safety and whether this approach reduces cardiovascular disease in addition to lowering cholesterol."

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