CLEVELAND – Results from a Cleveland Clinic trial show just how effective a new medication is for individuals who have a statin intolerance.
For those unfamiliar, statins are used to help lower a person’s cholesterol and reduce their risk for cardiovascular events.
“Unfortunately, somewhere between 7 and 29 percent of people who try to take statins to lower their cholesterol levels have adverse effects, typically muscle pain and sometimes muscle weakness,” explained Steven Nissen, MD, cardiologist for Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Nissen is the lead researcher for this trial, which included 14,000 people from 30 different countries.
He said previously there were no medications available to help lower cholesterol specifically for those with a statin intolerance.
So they decided to test a drug called Bempedoic Acid that had been approved by the FDA a couple of years ago.
The results from the trial showed it was well-tolerated.
In fact, it helped reduce heart-related complications by thirteen to fifteen-percent.
In addition, the medication reduced risk for heart attack by 23% and the risk for needing a stent or bypass surgery by 19%.
“It’s important for the public to understand that the vast majority of patients can be treated with statins,” said Dr. Nissen. “The drugs are very effective and they have been studied in hundreds of thousands of patients. We were studying a very special group of patients.”
Dr. Nissen said there were some side effects of the drug used in the trial, like a small increase in the risk of gout and the risk of gallstones.