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New drug looks set to cut high cholesterol levels

A medical journal released last week has revealed details surrounding a new drug look set to cut individual’s high cholesterol levels significantly.

Evolocumab is an injected form of a new type of drug known as PCSK9 inhibitors. These types of drugs are highly effective at reducing the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), otherwise known as ‘bad cholesterol’.

The journal, The Lancet, detailed how the drug was tested within two of the biggest global randomised medical trials ever undertaken within the high-cholesterol field. Results showed that Evolocumab manages to rapidly decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol by around 60% – a staggering figure.

Some patients with high cholesterol also have familial hypercholesterolaemia, otherwise known as FH, which is an inherited condition involving extremely high cholesterol and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease at an earlier age. FH is caused by a defect within the gene which controls how cholesterol is handled by the body. As a result of this gene defect, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol isn’t always broken down properly and builds up within the bloodstream. FH is said to affect around 1 in 500 people.

The new drug significantly reduced LDL levels within patients with this condition – something which other high cholesterol medications have been unable to do to such an extent – and also had much fewer side effects than other treatments.

“Currently, we have no alternative or additional drug treatment with such a strong LDL-lowering ability and good tolerability,” explained the study’s author, Professor Frederick Raal. Later on, he commented saying that this sort of treatment could become the standard for high cholesterol, saying that statin therapy is much less effective.

“Statin therapy has led to significant improvements in the treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia, however many patients are still not able to achieve desirable LDL cholesterol levels despite intensive treatment. Results from these studies show how evolocumab offers the potential to achieve significant further reductions in LDL cholesterol.” Professor Raal added.


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