A new drug, Alirocumab, may be the answer to reducing bad cholesterol levels.
It has received rave reviews to protect people against strokes and heart attacks after a study discovered that it almost eliminated all dangerous blood fats in more than one third of those taking statins. In people who were unable to take them, Alirocumab halved the level of LDL, thus reducing the risk of potentially deadly conditions.
The global study involving 2000 patients indicated that in excess of one third of those taking the new drug experienced a reduction of their fats level to that of a baby’s.
The lead researcher in the study, Professor Kausik Ray, said when Alirocumab is used with a statin it dramatically lowers cholesterol levels. He said around 40% of those who took it saw their levels being reduced to that of a newborn.
The drug has been dubbed the Pack-Man because it ‘gobbles up’ a protein and allows for the body to get rid of bad cholesterol in a more effective manner. According to Professor Ray it may become available as a self-administered injection.
The participants in the trial numbered 2338 who had suffered a stroke, heart attack or who had been placed at high risk of high cholesterol.
Of this number, 1550 were given Alirocumab and a statin, and 788 were given a placebo. Of the 1550 who received Alirocumab, 562 saw a decline in the level of bad cholesterol to less than that of a baby’s within a period of one year.
Professor Ray of St George’s Hospital in South London said this is the largest reduction they have seen since the introduction of statins. He said it is particularly exciting to have a treatment which is able to lower LDL cholesterol in high-risk groups.
He said the treatments for people that are unable to lower their cholesterol, but fall into a high-risk group, have been very weak. They may have had a bypass, a heart attack, low tolerance levels and despite all this their cholesterol level is still high.
Statins are able to reduce LDL cholesterol by around 50% and this new drug reduced it by an additional 50%.
The participants received a bi-monthly injection during the trial period.
Professor Ray stated that it will more than likely reduce the risk of heart disease due to the lowering of LDL cholesterol, but this does not imply that the risk is eliminated completely. He said it does not mean that people will become immortal.
Image Credit: Kristin Jona