Study: New Drug Lowers Cholesterol Better Than Statins



A couple of researches discovered that a new drug which functions to lower cholesterol levels (which is still in experiment) is quite effective when it is combined with statins and is proven to be better than previous known add-on drug in its effectiveness to treat patients who are hard to treat.

The medicine here is evolocumab, it is a drug that function by injecting antibody. This drug does not work the same way statins, while statins raise the liver’s ability to clear LDL or bad cholesterol from the blood. This drug in the other hand lowers choleterol levels in people who does not find statins effective to lower enough cholesterol, and also in patients who cannot tolerate statins.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, who had no part in either studies, sait that the two new studies gave great new evidence that evolocumab is effective in lowering LDL cholesterol in statin-treated and in statin-intolerant patients. He believes that the results of the studies are quite impressive.

The evolocumab drug was produced by Amgen, and both of the studies done by the researchers were funded by them. The results of the studies will be presented Sunday at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jennifer Robinson, director of the Prevention Intervention Center at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, and lead author of the first study believe that evolocumab could be a great new option which also quite effective for people who need to lower ther LDL-cholesterol.

In the trial study, researchers added the evolocumab drug to statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor). Nearly 1,900 patents were involved in the trial. While the researchers also compared the effectiveness of evolucumab when pitted against ezetimibe (Zetia), another drug that can be added to statin therapy to further reduce cholesterol.

Dr. Jennifer Robinson also said that the ability of the Evolocumab drug in reducing LDL cholesterol is around 65 to 75 percent when added to a statin. The drug is able to reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the body better than ezetimibe which is only effective to reduce cholesterol about 15 to 20 percent when it is added to statin.

Jennifer added the the research that have been done will be further more studied. A new trial will also be done to know whether the evolocumab drug added to statins could also reduce the risks of patients to suffer from a heart attack or stroke in those with cardiovascular disease.

The second research trial will be lead by Dr. Erik S.G. Stroes, chair of the department of vascular medicine at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. The team of researchers in this study discovered how the drug evolocumab, was found to have more effects when compared to Zetia in their ability to lower cholesterol much better than what statins alone could achieve.

The researchers treated 307 patients with evolocumab or the widely used Zetia. LDL cholesterol was reduced by up to 56 percent in patients using evolocumab. That was almost a 39 percent larger reduction than Zetia achieved, he said.

“We finally seem to have a good alternative treatment for patients who experience severe side effects to statin therapy. The combination of a robust cholesterol-lowering effect with minimal side effects make evolocumab a promising treatment for those patients not tolerating statin therapy,” Stroes said.

Dr. David Friedman, chief of heart failure services at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, N.Y., said reaching LDL cholesterol-lowering goals in high-risk heart patients poses an ongoing challenge.

Evolocumab holds promise, “however, we need to await more outcome-based measures that show an actual reduction in heart attacks and strokes to show the true benefit of evolocumab in the long term,” Friedman said.

Another expert, Dr. Tara Narula, associate director of the cardiac care unit at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed.

“We need more research before we can definitively say that this agent is safe and effective. We don’t know how simply lowering LDL cholesterol translates into overall cardiovascular outcomes,” she said.

Narula noted that studies of Zetia failed to show a reduction of heart attacks and strokes, even though the drug effectively lowered cholesterol.

“We need to await the results of [a different, ongoing trial] to see if lowering LDL cholesterol lower than standard levels really does translate into reduced cardiovascular events over time. That’s the kind of research we need before we change our clinical practice,” she said.

Studies presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.