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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2019 22:08 
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Bempedoic acid could be an alternative for those who suffer side effects from statins. According to the trial it brought down cholesterol by about 17 per cent. It has not been approved by NICE yet for use in the NHS.

More than seven million people in Britain take statins to lower their cholesterol, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The drugs protect the heart but can cause side-effects such as muscle pain. The NHS already recommends PCSK9 inhibitors as an alternative for those with very high cholesterol that cannot be controlled by statins alone. They reduce LDL cholesterol by more than half, but cost more than £4,000 a year, compared with £20 for statins.

A trial of 2,200 people found that bempedoic acid reduced cholesterol by 17 per cent over 12 weeks although it did cause side effects such as gout, according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Professor Kausik Ray of Imperial College London, who led the study, said: “We know that reducing your cholesterol levels is key to cutting the risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly if you already have established heart disease. Our latest study shows that bempedoic acid could be another addition to the arsenal of cholesterol-lowering treatments.

The drug costs £8 a day in the US but a price in Britain has not been set and approval is pending. Although it is less effective than PCSK9 inhibitors, which are delivered as injections, Professor Ray said: “As a tablet its cheaper to make, so should cost a lot less.”

Professor Ray explained that unlike statins, bempedoic acid does not leave the liver and affect muscles. “One of the key advantages of bempedoic acid is supposed to be that it shouldn’t cause the muscle side-effects,” he said. “It could be an option for patients who are unable to tolerate statins at higher doses, or at all.”

Professor Jane Armitage of Oxford University said: “The results are promising but longer and larger studies — which are ongoing — will be needed to provide reassurance about the overall safety and efficacy of bempedoic acid.”

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