New Cholesterol Drug Could Cut Strokes and Heart Attacks in Half

Study: a new cholesterol drug can cut heart attacks and strokes in half
Good news has come to light for patients in the battle against cholesterol. An experimental trial by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has proven to cut the number of heart attacks and strokes almost in half. The clinical trial was analysed retrospectively, which means the results are not yet conclusive, but it’s still huge news for millions of patients that suffer from cardio-vascular risk — a disease directly linked to high cholesterol.

The injectable drug is called alirocumab. It targets a protein called PCSK9 and lowers LDL, which can simply be described as the bad cholesterol in our bodies.

Amgen and Pfizer are developing similar drugs which may be on the market as early as next year, netting the companies millions in profit if approved with patients lining up to lower their chances of heart disease. The study has been named Odyssey Long Term, and it’s still underway with 2,341 patients participating.

There will be a requirement for a larger clinical trial to determine efficacy, but Regeneron is reporting consistent results of LDL reduction in the nine large studies it has done this year. The research came to light back in July, but it was only presented on Sunday in Barcelona at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. Thos participating in the study were less likely to develop serious cardiovascular issues, including heart attacks, cardiac arrest, stroke and chest pain which required hospitalization.

Researchers are understandably optimistic about the trial findings thus far. “To have this result emerge so quickly in this study is very encouraging,” said Jennifer Robinson, the study leader and a cardiologist at the University of Iowa. But the president of the American College of Cardiology, Dr Patrick T. O’Gara, has commented that although the results are “biologically plausible” it’s important to exercise caution due to the retrospective nature of the findings.

The best treatment for cholesterol at present is statin treatment, which is pill based. Should alirocumab be approved, it could be combined with this treatment as a bi-monthly injection for maximum effect.¬†Alirocumab will be especially attractive to those who can’t take statins because they either don’t work properly, or they have negative side effects.

Big pharmaceutical companies will be working hard over the next year to get the drug approved and to market. And with cardiologists calling it “the best news we’ve had for cholesterol management for a decade,” patients can certainly be hopeful.

(Photo courtesy of Okko Pyykko)

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3 Responses to New Cholesterol Drug Could Cut Strokes and Heart Attacks in Half

  1. sherri cavan says:

    The headline and article are misleading. The drug shows effectiveness in lowering LDL. It is a BIG inference from this single measure to “cutting strokes and east attacks in half” for which no evidence is presented.
    Since it requires bi-monthly visits to a physician for injection I can see where it has great economic promise.

  2. captainhurt says:

    no injections!! imagine the physician and company profits from doing a minimum of 6 visits per year per patient just to get an injection.
    sorry most people HATE needles and blood, including me, so this is bad stuff.

  3. Lee Davis says:

    The only reason to take satin drugs that you’re unlucky enough to be one of those people who has the DZ’s and the liver that makes too much. It’s the smallest of the LDL particles that caused the damage in flam a Tory part of your veins. The pharmaceutical companies are targeting the wrong thing, they need to get their act together. It’s carbohydrates and sugar that’s killing everybody when is Michelle going to wake up.

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