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Cholesterol-Slashing Drug Can Protect High-Risk Heart Patients, Study Finds

Friday, March 17, 2017   (0 Comments)
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The first rigorous test of an expensive new drug that radically lowers cholesterol levels found that it significantly reduced the chance that a high-risk patient would have a heart attack or stroke. These were men and women who had exhausted all other options.

The results of the study, which cost about $1 billion and was paid for by Amgen, the maker of the drug, were published on Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

The drug, Repatha, is called a PCSK9 inhibitor and can make cholesterol tumble to levels almost never seen naturally in adults, or even in people taking cholesterol-lowering statins. The Amgen drug and a similar one, sold by Sanofi and Regeneron, were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015 with the hope — and expectation — that they would lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and not just reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, the dangerous kind.

That hope has now been realized for the Amgen drug.

“This is like the era of the statins coming in,” said Dr. Eugene Braunwald, a cardiologist at Harvard Medical School who was the founding chairman of the research group that conducted the study, but was not an investigator on it. Like statins, which were introduced in the 1980s, the new class of drugs has the potential to improve the health and longevity of millions of Americans with heart disease, the nation’s leading killer, accounting for one in four deaths.

 

Continue reading at NYTimes.com here.


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