Cholesterol Drug Touted As ‘Great Hope’ Stuns Specialists With Lack Of Benefits
Although patients taking the drug saw their LDL cholesterol fall and their HDL levels rise as hoped, researchers find that it didn't have an impact on whether they had heart attacks and strokes, or died from cardiovascular disease. Meanwhile, one study confirms statin intolerance while another shows that statins have positive benefits in a globally diverse group of people. And getting a bypass gives patients a better chance at surviving than taking drugs alone.
The New York Times:
Dashing Hopes, Study Shows A Cholesterol Drug Had No Effect On Heart Health
It is a drug that reduces levels of LDL cholesterol, the dangerous kind, as much as statins do. And it more than doubles levels of HDL cholesterol, the good kind, which is linked to protection from heart disease. As a result, heart experts had high hopes for it as an alternative for the many patients who cannot or will not take statins. But these specialists were stunned by the results of a study of 12,000 patients, announced on Sunday at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting: There was no benefit from taking the drug, evacetrapib. (Kolata, 4/3)
The Washington Post:
Statin Intolerance Is Real, Researchers Find. Another (More Costly) Drug May Get Around The Problem.
Statins like Lipitor and its generics have revolutionized cardiovascular care for nearly two decades as an effective, inexpensive way to reduce LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Not everyone can take them, though; a significant number of people complain of muscle pain, weakness and cramping so severe that they discontinue the therapy even at the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Their resistance to the medication has been controversial, because in most cases there are no biomarkers for the muscle problems individuals describe. (Bernstein, 4/3)
The Associated Press:
Global Research Sees Statin Benefits In Lower Risk Patients
The first major research of its kind shows that cholesterol-lowering statins can prevent heart attacks and strokes in a globally diverse group of older people who don't have heart disease. The results bolster recommendations in recent guidelines on who should consider taking the drugs. The aim was to prevent heart problems using a statin alone, blood pressure drugs or a combination of the two. The three approaches are commonly used in high risk patients or those with evidence of heart disease. The patients in the study did not have heart disease and faced lower risks of developing it, and the statin approach worked best. (4/2)
The Associated Press:
Bypass Boosts Survival In Heart Failure, 10-Year Study Says
Heart failure patients with clogged arteries have a better chance of surviving 10 years if they get bypass surgery plus medicine rather than just drugs alone, according to an international study. Earlier results from the same research raised questions about the benefits of bypass versus medicine alone, but researchers say the long-term evidence clearly favors the surgery. (4/3)