New High Cholesterol Drug Halves Risks

A new experimental drug for high cholesterol, a biological dubbed evolocumab, may halve the risk of heart attack or stroke, according to a story published in the Daily Mail. According to a fact sheet from the CDC, over one third of Americans (71 million) have high LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels, and only one third of those have the condition under control. Those who do have high cholesterol are at approximately twice as much at risk of heart disease as a healthy adult.

The new drug is an alternative to traditional statin treatments for high cholesterol, and a new study has shown it to be twice as effective. It is also an effective alternative for those unable to take conventional statins — which, as recently reported by the Inquisitr may actually increase long-term risks of Parkinson’s Disease and diabetes, among other side effects.

WebMD has some more clinical details of the new high cholesterol treatment. The lead researcher, Dr. Marc Sabatine, indicated that compared to patients on conventional statin therapy, the new combined treatment halved the rate of stroke, heart attack, death and other high cholesterol-related hospital stays.

“[The new combined therapy] basically halves the rate of cardiovascular events, […] It’s a very impressive risk reduction.”

The findings were published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in San Diego on Sunday.

The study examined 4,465 high cholesterol patients who had already completed a phase II or phase III trial to evaluate evolocumab. They were divided into two random groups and they were assigned either conventional therapy only, or combined therapy with the new drug. The study was funded by its manufacturer, Amgen.

Evolocumab works by blocking a protein in the liver that reduces its ability to remove high cholesterol from the blood, significantly increasing its function in that regard. The drug is classed as a PCSK-9 monoclonal antibody.

Those on the combination therapy showed reduced LDL cholesterol levels of approximately 70 mg per deciliter of blood over the one-year follow-up study, bringing them down to roughly 48 mg per deciliter. According to Dr. Sabatine, experts advise high-risk patients to keep their LDL levels under 70 mg.

An ongoing study of more than 27,000 patients is expected to provide more data on the results and feasibility of evolocumab treatment in 2017. Dr. Sabatine indicated, however, that the drug might be available for clinical use in high cholesterol treatment before then if it passes FDA review.

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