Promising drug may provide alternative to statins for people at risk of heart disease, new study finds

Photo of author

A new study has found that a drug could replace statins for people who cannot tolerate them, a promising finding for the millions of people who are at risk of heart disease.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine Saturday, found that in patients with increased cardiovascular risk, bempedoic acid was found to reduce the risk of heart-related complications, such as heart attack, or the need for procedures such as bypass operations or stents. . Appointment.

“I take care of these patients,” Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who led the study, told CBS News. “They say, ‘Dr. Nissen, I know I need to lower my cholesterol. I’ve tried all these different statins. My muscles hurt. I can’t take those drugs.’ ”

An editorial accompanying the study called the results “compelling” and said they “will and should increase the use of bempedoic acid” in appropriate patients.

When asked about the possible side effects of bempedoic acid, Dr. Nissen said, “Let me first tell you what the drug did not do.” “It didn’t cause muscle pain. It was very significant. It raised the risk of gout by about 1%. And it raised the risk of gallstones by about a full percent. We don’t consider any of . Be especially serious.”

Bempedoic acid was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2020 as a way to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

“Yes, it is approved, but not widely used,” Dr. Nissen said. “If you really want a drug to be used widely, it has to show proof of benefit on the really important things. The kinds of bad things that happened to patients with high cholesterol, we now know that bempedoic acid can be reduced. And that’s it. Gives the drug an opportunity now to be paid for by payers and more available to patients.”

Drugs like PCSK9 inhibitors and ezetimibe are other alternatives to statins, but Dr. Nissen said bempedoic acid is an important addition.

Dr. Nissen said of bempedoic acid, “It will completely transform the practice of medicine.”

Leave a Comment